I worked on a sports desk in 1994, the first time the US hosted the World Cup. Even then it was sort of niche viewing relegated to Univision and the more obscure ESPN channels. But now we can watch games on regular television, or stream them on our computers at work, or follow the live action on our phones. You don’t really need to get with group to enjoy the games, but you’d look pretty silly chanting “USA! USA!” alone in front of your laptop.
2. Café Europa
200 N. Davie St., 336.389.1010 (GSO)
Right about this time four years ago (and four years before that), I pledged to watch as many World Cup soccer matches as I could, and then caught maybe a few minutes of a few games the whole time. This year will be different. Café Europa, a regular stop for me, will be broadcasting every single match, with emphasis, of course, on the European teams.
3. Finnegan’s Wake
620 N. Trade St., finniganswake.net (W-S)
Ireland did not make the cut this year, but there will be plenty of surly soccer fans watching the games at Finnegan’s anyway, even if it’s just to root against the English. My suggestion? Irish fans should pull for the Ivory Coast, which has a very similar flag.
4. A/perture Cinema
311 W. Fourth St., aperturecinema.com (W-S)
A/perture will be screening the US games on a big screen in downtown Winston-Salem, starting with Sunday’s 6 p.m. match against Portugal.
5. Penny Path Café
104 E. Kivett Drive, 336.821.2925
Last week, Jordan Green caught Miro Buzov trying to install a new flatscreen for the games in the only full-time creperie in the Triad, which also happens to be in High Point.
2134 Lawndale Drive, geeksboro.com (GSO)
Geeksboro owner Joe Scott made a concession to the sports fans that frequent his coffeeshop/nerd palace by airing the US matches in the downstairs movie house.
7. Small Batch Beer Co.
214 W. Fifth St., smallbatchws.com (W-S)
The guys at Small Batch have taken over the old Kopper Kettle for all sorts of purposes for which the space was not originally intended, including the airing of World Cup matches. For this weekend’s US match, they’re gonna blow the party out into the street.
8. Marshall Free House
1211 Battleground Ave., marshallfreehouse.com (GSO)
Marty Kotis’ long-awaited paean to British culture pledges to air all of the World Cup games, with, one might imagine, particular emphasis on England’s squad. They play Uruguay on Sunday at 3 p.m. Don’t forget your kilt!
9. Sticks & Stones
2200 Walker Ave., sticksandstonesclayoven.com (GSO)
The guys I sometimes run with swear by this Whiskey District pizzeria not normally known for televised sports. The 6 p.m. games, starting right at the beginning of the dinner rush, may be a tough ticket.
10. Any taqueria
The real Mexican restaurants in the Triad have been gearing up for the World Cup for like a year. For Monday’s Mexico vs. Croatia game, I recommend setting up with a tamarind soda and a plateful of carne asada tacos at the kind of place that cuts its own meat and bakes its own pastries.