Photo cred - Austin H. Kapfumvuti
The first stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins June 12. Despite much controversy surrounding mass evictions of "favela" dwellers, state-sanctioned murder, and misuse of public funds, we're still excited for the footie. Canada didn't qualify, so we can root for America (tough draw), The Netherlands (vs. Spain), or Mexico (North/Central America pride). Rooting for France is obviously an exercise in futility, unless you're rooting for the yearly meltdown. Also, you can roll w/ a new team, I personally rep Côte D'Ivoire, 'cuz Drogba 4ever. Anyway, here's some of our favorite spots to watch the Cup, with an emphasis on smaller and team-specific bars and restos. Please tell us about your favorite little spots to catch a match!
1. Chez Serge5301 Boul. St.-Laurent Chez Serge is screening every World Cup game on their many TVs. Everyone in the city has been to Serge, and know why it rules. Come back for swerve-y, sugary big drink buckets!, people being thrown from the bull, and now all the World Cup 2014 matches. Every team, every match! One big extra Serge has for the World Cup is a panoply of Montreal's finest food trucks for the duration of the tournament. The trucks will be parked by the side door and feature special World Cup menus!
2. Restaurant L’abidjanaise6234 Chemin de la Côte-des-NeigesThis Ivorian restaurant is the place to be for great Ivorian food like Garba (cassava, fish, spices), Alloco (fried plantain), grilled fish, and choukouya (grilled meat). This place is also a hangout for footie fanatics. There's great big TVs (w/ appropriate channels), delicious and affordable food, and a humble atmosphere. Come cheer on Didier, Yaya Touré, and the best jerseys in the business.
3. Les Bobards4328 Saint-Laurent Boul
Les Bobards is one of the beating hearts of Montreal's Brazilian community. There's no place better to be rooting for the home team at this year's World Cup. Come with your best single name jersey! During the matches the place gets rowdy, w/ patrons playing tam-tams and giving it all for the yellow and green.
4. Burgundy Lion2496 Rue Notre Dame West
This St-Henri spot is a great modern English pub in a rising and passionate community. The food (British-Indian and Fish & Chips), service, and drinks, are all excellent. There's two floors and plenty of HD TVs for your viewing pleasure. This is a great place to get the best of British pubs (Indian food), and totally avoid the worst (stabby hooligans).
5. Cafe Olympico124 St-Viateur West
Cafe Olympico is ground-zero for Team Italia. The last time this group joyously shouted "Abbiamo Vinto!" through the littered streets of Rome was 2006. Italy's team has been stepping up the S-talk in preparation for their grouping w/ England. Italy says they're better than the Brits this year. It doesn't matter though, because neither team is winning it all. Nonetheless, Cafe Olympico is a great cafe part of Montreal history. So come on by even if you could give a fig about Gianluigi Buffon, or the Italian club.
6. Alto Restaurant3462 Parc Avenue
Alto's is a hotspot for drunk students and fans of the team that always ties Argentina for most gross sweaty ponytails: Greece. Although the Hellenic Republic's chances arn't great in this Cup, their group could've been worse. Alto's is open late, and will likely be showing the Greek games.
7. La Taverne Normand1550 Ave. Mont-Royal Est
This bar has a solid tripartite reputation for Oranje support during the World Cup, good cheese plates, and cheap beer. Come watch RvP, Arjen Robben, and other assorted balding Dutchmen make a good go in their tough first round group featuring Spain, Chile, and Australia.
8. Le Massillia4543 Parc
This unique Marseilles bistro is a great spot to watch the impending player/coach/racial meltdown due for the French squad. If the meltdown doesn't come, this will be a great spot to watch France's most talented squad in years. Massillia does great croque's-monsieurs, mashed potatoes, and serves pastis too!
9. Aunt Dai5557A Côte-des-NeigesAunt Dai is an authentic Chinese restaurant that also houses big flatscreen TVs and plenty of seating. This place is already a favorite spot of locals for watching Premier League matches, hockey games, and everything else. Aunt Dai is having a in-store and online promotion for the World Cup. Predict the score of a game correctly and win a free main dish, soup, and coke! Rules on the fb page.
10. Tombouctou Restaurant6000 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges
This West African and Caribbean resto is a great spot to watch the World Cup. Many supporters of Cameroon frequent here, as do many Senegalese fans, saddened that their team didn't qualify. Come commiserate over Canada's un-qualification with some Senegalese. The thieboudienne (grilled fish w/ rice) and spicy marinated Yassa are prepared excellently here.
11. Cafe Central4051 St. Dominique St.
This Little Portugal hangout is the #1 spot to watch the world's hardest ball kicker, CR7, and Portugal. Portugal is in Group G with Germany, Ghana, and the US. Tough draw. Nonetheless, Cafe Central is always packed with Portuguese people playing domino, meeting for drinks, or watching the footie. If you can't speak Portuguese, then you better be wearing a CR7 or Nani jersey!
12. Club Espagnol4388 boul. St-Laurent
Club Espagnol is an authentic spot that has been embraced by Montreal's Spanish community. The food is great and the crowd is raucous. The cuisine is heavy on garlic and includes tasty boquerones, paella, calamari, and other tapas. Since the Tiki-taka will have most people bored to tears by the time Iniesta makes the pass, everyone here gets pretty hydrated.
13. Le Tequila Bar972 Decarie Blvd.
This Montreal Mexican spot has it all: open to 3AM, delicious tacos, 'dillas, and homemade guac, plus lots of draft brews and tequilas. If you're rooting for the red, white, and green, there's no better place to be. Mexico has a really tough first grouping, so come here for some corn tortillas and white knuckle matches!
14. Ye Old Orchard PubMultiple Locations
Ye Old Orchard has found itself in MTLblog's sights before, because of their amazing and enormous Capon wings. Deservedly then and now, Ye Old Orchard is a great place to watch the games, have some wings, some Guinness, and cry to ourselves about North American lameness at soccer.