The Best Places to Watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Charlotte
Although Charlotte -- and North Carolina -- have been in the news lately for the sale of our football team, it will be another sport that will be a big part of the Queen City this summer: soccer. Charlotte is not only gearing up for the World Cup, but in July, the 2018 International Champions Cup will come to Bank of America Stadium as Liverpool FC takes on Borussia Dortmund (which you can score tickets for right here).
And although the USA is out, there’s no need to throw in the towel. The games still promise to be a ton of excitement and, well, a great excuse for early morning drinking. Due to the time difference, as the matches will be hosted in Russia, some games will start as early as 6am, but that’s not stopping bars and other establishments from opening early for fans and folks afraid of FOMO to watch. Here are some of the best bars in Charlotte to watch the games.
Best for: Drinking the limited-release 1775 pale ale
Open since May, Jack’s House has become a go-to spot for soccer fans for many reasons. The first is that Jack’s is owned by, and located in, the same space as the Charlotte Independence, Charlotte’s professional soccer team and member of the United Soccer League. Although Jack’s supports the Independence and the US national soccer team, during the World Cup they will be showing all the games, but will be supporting all the teams that share the nationality of their players. In collaboration with NoDa Brewing Company, Jack’s will be serving a special beer, the 1775 pale ale, which was made especially for them during the World Cup. Also, please call ahead before heading out for the games as there are some games that have been rented out for private viewing parties. We were told that 90% of the games will be shown and open to the general public.
Best for: Hardcore soccer fans who aren’t afraid to show up early
Courtyard Hooligans is basically the “place” to go for all things soccer. Think people dressed up in their respective team colors with rabid excitement, basically how Americans picture soccer fans. Although Courtyard Hooligans plays other sports throughout the year, this bar is focused on international sports such as soccer and rugby. Hooligans will be showing all the World Cup games and plans to have drink specials available on game days. This place will get packed, as the bar itself is tiny, but never fear, as in the past, they will have TV options in the courtyard outside of the bar for those who can’t fit inside.
Best for: Fans of Ireland who don’t mind hanging with fans of Spain
Although Ireland was eliminated from the Cup, that doesn’t mean that Rí Rá and other Irish bars in Charlotte won’t be in on the fun. Rí Rá will show all the games during the World Cup and will have drink and food specials, including special features based on what countries are playing. Yep, they are going to be serving international food not normally on their menu during the tournament. Another fun fact: Rí Rá will be showing the matches on both floors of their bar, but one floor will have English commentary and the other floor will have Spanish commentary. GOOOAAAALLL!
Best for: Drink specials and raucous fans
Located in Brevard Court across from Courtyard Hooligans, Belfast Mill is an Irish bar that loves all things soccer. During the World Cup (and other large soccer matches), fans spill out from both Belfast and Hooligans into the courtyard in front of them. It’s also great to jump from one bar to the other, if you can get in. Gearing up for the World Cup, Belfast has already finalized specials with Heineken ($3 Heineken during the games) and Jägermeister ($5 for a drink and a potentially bad decision). During the games, they’ll be hosting different raffles and opportunities to win prizes, including tickets to the aforementioned International Champions Cup. During the regular season, soccer fans supporting the US national soccer team and Manchester United come to this spot to support their clubs.
Best for: Fans of English cuisine, beers, and clubs
Get your traditional English fare such as bangers n’ mash, liver, and bread and butter pudding while watching your favorite club play. Big Ben will be showing all the World Cup matches and will be featuring drinks specials from Heineken and Strongbow cider.
Best for: Hearty food, delicious draughts, and Liverpool fans
Valhalla Pub & Eatery completes the trifecta of soccer greatness that is Brevard Court. They’ll be opening early and showing all the World Cup games inside. Focused on Scandinavian-themed food, this is the perfect place to fuel up with a Norwegian burger (beef, pork, gaufrette potatoes, melted Jarlsberg, red onion, Norsk sauce, fried egg) and settle in for the day.
Best for: Food and drink specials and meeting new friends
At the corner of Pecan and Commonwealth, there is a space that now houses Jackalope Jacks (still alive after shuttering its Elizabeth location); The Rabbit Hole and The Peculiar Rabbit. The Peculiar Rabbit and Jackalope Jacks will be showing the World Cup matches and Jackalope already has all of their flags flying for the different clubs. Two restaurants with different menus, but in the same space and both showing the World Cup matches. What’s better than that? Bounce from location to location to get a different feel and different food. Each space has multiple TVs so you won’t miss any of the action.
Best for: Cheap pints and no affiliation needed
Although not typically known as a soccer destination, Connolly’s does show many of the bigger games, including the World Cup matches. Expect an easy-going yet energetic crowd to show up. Look for drinks specials such as $3 pints of Heineken during matches. Unfortunately, the patio is now closed for new construction, but grab a pint in the loft and enjoy.
Best for: Those who want to hang with no affiliation to the teams
The real question for Tyber Creek is whether or not the giant inflatable soccer ball that was in front of their bar for the last World Cup make an appearance? With TVs upstairs, downstairs and outside, Tyber Creek has plenty of room and viewing options for fans and for newbies. They will also be having drink and food specials throughout the tournament.
Best for: Those who can’t get into a crowded bar
Known as a concert destination located in NoDa, Neighborhood Theatre is also getting in on the World Cup action by hosting a free event on Sunday, June 17. There will be drink and food specials for those in attendance. Doors open at 7:30am with the first match beginning at 8am.
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