Top 10 Places To Watch the FIFA World Cup
Tomorrow begins the the most widely watched sporting event in the world, the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And for the next month, from June to July 11th, even Laker mania will take a back seat to soccer. The World Cup, held for the first time in Africa, showcases 32 countries. And while you can of course watch the games at your neighborhood sports bar, there are also other venues celebrating the event, even opening for the 4:30 a.m. games, which is when the early games start on the West Coast.
Instead of settling for sub-par bar food this next month, watch the match while spooning up pistachio gelato at Bulgarini Gelato in the San Gabriel foothills, or as you eat black mole at Guelaguetza, or spicy octopus at The Prince Café in Koreatown, or boerewors at Springbok in Van Nuys, which is fitting as South Africa is hosting the World Cup this year. Or sit in the inner sanctum of Mozza, where you can eat all the fennel sausage pizza you can manage while you cheer your team. Yes, Mozza has a big screen television you didn't know about. Turn the page for our Top 10 Places to Watch the World Cup, listed in alphabetical order because, well, tensions are running high enough as it is.
1. Bella Vista Brazilian Gourmet Pizza: This new pizzeria is part of a small Brazilian complex on Venice Boulevard in Culver City that becomes a shrine to soccer during the World Cup. The sunny courtyard has just been set up with two 60-inch screens set up with surround-sound upon which will show 2 games at a time all through the next month. "The last World Cup we had 250 people here," said owner-manager Marcelo Gomez. "We tied the chairs together." Gomez says there'll be Brazilian dancers and drummers lined up along Venice Boulevard to help celebrate. The only early game shown will be the Brazil-Portugal game -- look for special breakfast pizzas -- otherwise the place will open at its customary 9 a.m. They will reshow the earlier games during dinner, and the all-you-can-eat pizza special will continue through the World Cup. As the pizzeria does not yet have its liquor license, fans can BYOB. Bella Vista: 10826 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 90232; (310) 558-2374.
2. Bulgarini Gelato: To say that Rome native Leo Bulgarini is a soccer fan is not unlike saying that the man enjoys a scoop of gelato: a vast and terrible understatement. For the World Cup, Bulgarini, who has been showing Italian movies in his outdoor Altadena courtyard for the last summer or two, will be showing all the games on his projector. He's also been building a marble bar inside, will put up a tent outside, and has gotten a temporary beer and wine license for the occasion. Bulgarini says he'll show every game. All of them. The 4:30 a.m. games, the England games, all of them. "You have to be open," says Bulgarini. "You can't say, I'm not going to be open for Greece. We're going to play them all." And if gelato at dawn isn't your thing (that's why they invented affogato, isn't it?), there will be coffee and pastries too. Bulgarini Gelato: 749 E. Altadena Dr., Altadena; (626) 791-6174.3. Euro Caffe: This Italian cafe may be tiny, and stuck in the center of Beverly Hills, but once you get inside the tiny storefront, you'd think you were in Rome. When soccer matches are on the two televisions, the place is jammed; during the World Cup, it will feel like a Guinness World Record how-many-ex-pats-fit-in-a-Fiat experiment. Just the atmosphere you need, really, for a good game. The food is good -- house-made pastries and panini, pizzas and salads made with fresh burrata -- and since the last World Cup, the café has gotten and beer and wine license. It is, however, the espresso that you will want to order. Owner Vartan Kemanjian serves only Danesi coffee, which is pulled on the gorgeous copper Elektra machine that dominates the place, at least until the game is turned on. As the café opens at 7 a.m., all of the games except the very early ones will be showing, but Kemanjian says that if enough of the devoted ask, he'd consider opening earlier, since he's there every morning at 6 anyway. Euro Caffe: 9559 North Santa Monica Boulevard Beverly Hills; (310) 274-9070.
6. Lucky Baldwins Pub: This Pasadena English pub, open for 14 years now, will be showing every game live on the televisions wedged among the beer banners in the dark and atmospheric interior of the pub, as well as on the 55-inch television on the patio outside. "We tried it out last week," says owner David Farnworth, who is from Carlyle, in the north of England, aand who lived in South Africa for 10 years. "It will come in handy when there's the two games on at the same time." The pub will open at 4 a.m. for the early games, and the kitchen will be open and serving full English breakfasts as well as free coffee until 7 a.m. when their liquor license allows them to start serving beer. There is lots of beer at Lucky Baldwin's: 62 beers on tap, in fact. Coincidentally, Lucky Baldwin's annual IPA festival starts the same day that the World Cup begins, so England fans can lift India pale ales to celebrate (or not). And if it gets really crowded, which it will, Farnworth says not to worry. "The good thing about these games is that they're two hours long. You're not in any hurry to get your breakfast." Beer for breakfast works too. The Sierra Madre outpost of the pub will also be open too, but not until 7 a.m. Lucky Baldwins Pub: 17 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; (626) 795-0652. Lucky Baldwins Delirium Cafe: 21 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre; (626) 355-1140.
|beer at Lucky Baldwins pub|