Astoria, Bars, Guest Bloggers, Sports
Jun 11, 2014

Can’t Miss Favorites – Watching the World Cup in Astoria

We welcome Dan Rich, the author of this piece and super soccer fan, on the upcoming World Cup tournament and his picks on where to view in Astoria. Thanks, Dan! (…)

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We welcome Dan Rich, the author of this piece and super soccer fan, on the upcoming World Cup tournament and his picks on where to view in Astoria. Thanks, Dan! -Meg

fifa-world-cup-brazil-logo

Whatever language you say it in, The FIFA World Cup is the premier sporting event on the entire planet. But it is also much, much more than just sports—it is the embodiment of passion and hope and excitement for all of the nations competing this year in Brazil. It begins as a global qualifying process involving nearly 200 teams, slowly but surely whittled down to a small group—the final 32. And while the qualifying is exhilarating to those of us who truly care about soccer, the World Cup Finals over the next month are really what it’s all about.

The tournament begins in earnest on Thursday June 12th, when the host nation, Brazil, takes on Croatia in Sao Paulo. This will be the first of 48 matches that will comprise the Group stage of the tournament. The 32 teams that made it to Brazil are split up into eight groups of four. Each team in the group plays the other three teams, with points awarded for wins and for ties. The two teams from each group with the highest point totals then move on to the Knockout stage. The Knockout stage is essentially a 16 team single elimination tournament where you either win and move on, or lose and go home. Not quite the same high stakes consequences as playing The Game of Thrones, but to more than a few fans out there, these matches take on a life or death quality.

And I can think of no better place to be in our fair city when these games get going than Astoria. While I haven’t gone door to door on this, I think it’s safe to say that virtually every nation that is competing is represented in our community—Algeria to Uruguay, Japan to Portugal, Russia, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, and the good old US of A (just to name a few). Once that first whistle sounds, we will be out en masse, in full-throated support of our favorite players who are playing for the colors on the front of their jerseys, and not the names on the back.

The best advice I can give for enjoying this special time is to be proud and get into it! There’s no shortage of bars, cafes, beer gardens, pubs, and restaurants to catch the action and make some noise out there. You could pretty much kick a soccer ball in any direction and hit three of these places on nearly any avenue in Astoria. That being said, here are a few can’t miss favorites:

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Famous Beer Garden GatesA neighborhood classic, the Beer Garden is a great venue for checking out the matches. Big screen TVs ring the spacious backyard, and all the authentic Eastern European fare and beer are a perfect complement for enjoying the most international of competitions. When this place is full of soccer fans the atmosphere can be really electric. 29-19 24th Ave, Astoria. 718.274.4925

Studio Square

Studio Square ExteriorLocated near the iconic Kaufman Astoria Studios, Studio Square is another perfect spot for some serious World Cup revelry. The main draw here is the giant screen in the garden where scores of passionate fans can gather to support their squad and crush many beers. Just remember to crush those beers responsibly, because soccer hooliganism is all fun and games until somebody gets head-butted. I would tab this spot as one of the best to watch all of Team USA’s matches. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are plenty of screens in the spacious indoor area as well. 35-33 36th St, Astoria. 718.383.1001

Katch Astoria

the-bar-scene-katch-astoria-queensOne of the newer additions to the Astoria food and drink scene, Katch is sort of like your neighborhood sports bar, but with a little more polish. Plenty of screens both inside and out make every seat in the place a good one. Katch also has a pretty complete menu and a wide selection of beers. They are kicking off the tournament on Thursday June 12th with live music for the Brazil Croatia game that starts at 4 p.m.. 31-19 Newtown Ave, Astoria. 718.777.2230

Veslo

Image by Veslo

Image by Veslo

Veslo is a Croatian restaurant in the heart of Astoria, and that probably means the atmosphere for the tournament’s opening match will be insane when Brazil and Croatia kick things off. It seems like the perfect place to get a taste of the true nature of the World Cup, but I would advise against showing up wearing yellow and green. 32-11 Broadway, Astoria. 718.728.0549

This is but a taste of the many different places we can go in the neighborhood to watch these games, and witness what transpires on the pitch over the next four weeks or so. So come out and help fill your favorite Astoria haunts with your passion, your love, and of course, your money. The World Cup only comes around once every four years, and you truly never know what can happen.

Here is the USA schedule for the group stage, and a link to the schedule for the rest of the action:

  • Monday, June 16 at 6 p.m. vs Ghana
  • Sunday, June 22 at 6 p.m. vs Portugal
  • Thursday, June 26 at noon vs Germany

Get out there and enjoy it all as much as you can! LET’S GO USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dan-rich-soccer

The author (R) at work.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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