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World Cup Watch

By Nick Barbaro, Fri., July 4, 2014

The big story on the watch party front this week was undoubtedly the outdoor party put on by the Austin Aztex at the Long Cen­ter for Tuesday's U.S.-Belgium game. As many as 5,000 people showed up for an event that was put together in less than five days. With help from the city, the office of Council Member Mike Martinez, the Long Center, and other sponsors, the Aztex put on a tour-de-force demo of the event-organizing capabilities that their expanded ownership team – notably Paul Thornton of TAG Presents – brings to the table.
The big story on the watch party front this week was undoubtedly the outdoor party put on by the Austin Aztex at the Long Cen­ter for Tuesday's U.S.-Belgium game. As many as 5,000 people showed up for an event that was put together in less than five days. With help from the city, the office of Council Member Mike Martinez, the Long Center, and other sponsors, the Aztex put on a tour-de-force demo of the event-organizing capabilities that their expanded ownership team – notably Paul Thornton of TAG Presents – brings to the table.
photo by Jana Birchum

Quarterfinals Preview

The round of 16 was full of nail-biters; in the end, the group winners took every game, but it wasn't easy getting there ...

France-Germany: Two of the most dominating teams in first-round play both got kind of exposed in their first knockout-round games: France held pretty well in check by a more physical Nigeria; the German defense slow and unhelpful against Algeria.

Brazil-Colombia: We haven't seen Brazil at their best yet. Maybe they don't have a best. Colombia is at their best – the one team that has excelled in every game, and the only team to win convincingly in the last round. Watch out.

Argentina-Belgium: Just when Argentina looks out of ideas, Lionel Messi saves them again with some act of individual brilliance. It could keep working. Belgium? They were in total control Tuesday against the U.S.; Tim Howard's 16 saves were the most in a WC game in 50 years.

Netherlands-Costa Rica: Gotta love the Ticos, the last CONCACAF entry standing, and a big underdog (3000-1 before the tourney) in this highly-pedigreed final eight. That said, it's also nice to see Holland back to their old selves.

Select Viewing Options

Well, the real story here is, World Cup fever has completely taken over Austin. Every bar and restaurant with a television has it tuned in to Brazil, and there are crowds watching. So this list could be 10 times this long, and still not cover everyone. That said, here's an offering of some of Austin's best places to watch fútbol.

BD Riley's (204 E. Sixth) Waiting for Ireland to get back in again.

Bar 96 (96 Rainey) is a casual sports bar with lots of serious fans.

Blackfinn Ameri-pub (11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Domain) is open for all games, and accepting viewing party reservations.

Black Sheep Lodge (2108 S. Lamar) and Hay­mak­er (2310 Manor Rd.) both have beer specials for selected teams playing that day.

Champions Sports Bar (300 E. Fourth) has $4 import beers, a full menu, and the volume up for every game.

El Sol y la Luna (E. Sixth) is showing games en español.

Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant (214 W. Fourth) will show every game – of course – and will no doubt be a madhouse, even with England out.

Gabriel's (1900 University Ave., in the AT&T Center) Food and drink specials, plus a special drink for each game from one of the competing teams.

Holy Mountain (607 E. Seventh) promises trivia contests, drink specials, and more, plus excessive fútbol fanaticism (selected games only).

Justine's (4710 E. Fifth) specializes in French games of course, but the owners are big fans in general.

Lavaca Street Bar (405 Lavaca) will offer $12 domestic buckets throughout the tournament.

Liberty Tavern (Austin Hilton, 500 E. Fourth) will have all the action on 11 big screens; Austin Men's Soccer Assoc. player cards get 10% off.

Midway Field House (2015 E. Riverside) is the former Antone's space on East Riverside, near Emo's, now redone as a sports bar.

Mister Tramps (8565 Research) is showing all the games – with sound – plus drink specials, etc.

Mohawk (912 Red River) is showing the games on TVs and a projector, with live production sound. Plus "Frosty Beers + Original Cocktails + Food by Frank." Austin Coed Soccer Assoc. members get a discount with their valid player card.

Mr. Natural (1901 E. Cesar Chavez) is showing games en español.

Nomad Bar (1212 Corona) is a cozy neighborhood bar off Cameron Road, with big-screen TVs, beer specials, and all-day happy hours on Sunday.

The North Door (502 Brushy) is open for all matches, projected on the 25-foot HD screen in the main room, and in the lounge – "an air-conditioned haven for soccer fans to take in all the action," plus drink specials and pizzas.

Opal Divine's Freehouse (3601 S. Congress) has drink specials all week, and a terrific whiskey selection, in case things go horribly wrong for your team.

Rio's Brazilian (408 N. Pleasant Valley) recently closed, and just reopened under new ownership, so, not sure what to expect.

The Russian House NaZdorovye (307 E. Fifth) will be streaming games and have drink and food specials, including "Half Time Happy Hour."

Sherlock's Pub (9012 Research) and Baker Street Pub (3003 S. Lamar) claim "the longest happy hour in Austin," and will be open for all games.

The Tavern (922 W. 12th), home pub for Austin Aztex supporters, has big screen TVs every­where you look.

Vulcan Gas Company (418 E. Sixth) will be showing the semifinals and final on a 9x16-foot HD screen, with drink specials, plus food from P. Terry's catering truck.


Look for World Cup Watch Daily every morning at austinchronicle.com/sports.


I'm on the Horn, ESPN radio, 107.9FM, Wednesdays around 3:20pm through the rest of the WC.

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