Today's the day: the US Men's National Team will play its first match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup! (Yes, this is the "soccer" thing people have been flipping out about lately.) If you're like me and bet all your savings in a bracket with your friends (Cameroon can't lose, right?), then you'll want to be sure to catch all the games as they happen live. (Click here for the schedule.) So, be sure to check out these fine sports locales, put on your soccer jersey, and support your #USMNT!
The Downtown Options
The pubbiest of all downtown pubs is the Harp and Celt. With a fun soccer atmosphere, central location, great staff, and reasonable prices, come early and expect it to be packed.
For a posh (but probably still rowdy) downtown experience, Elixir has lots of TVs and specials on their extensive selection of cocktails and other drinks. Also, Avenue Gastrobar will show all games and has some delicious and reasonably priced dinner options.
If you have your heart set on Thornton Park and want to grab a bite during the game, Graffiti Junktion and Wildside BBQ are some of your best bets. But if you're looking for a more intimate pub atmosphere, hop over to The Falcon. (Or do all three, I'm not your mom.)
For the South Orlando and tourist crowd, Cricketers Arms has good food and drinks, and is located close to the parks, attracting a passionate international crowd. Another hot spot in the area is The Pub Orlando, with its World Cup rewards program.
In the bowels of soccer itself, the Sideline Pub at XL Sports World (just north of College Park) will be showing all games. Budweiser drafts are only $1 until the first goal is scored, so be punctual!
The Public Showings
Downtowners flock to Wall Street Plaza for great outdoor showings. Doors open an hour or more before all US games, shown on a 16-foot screen. Parties include $4 Heineken deals; 21+.
Don't forget, malls tend to show games in their common areas, including Mall at Millenia, Florida Mall, and Fashion Square Mall. That Saturday shopping afternoon may not be a waste after all.
¡Viva el Fútbol!
For some of the most passionate game-watching, pick a Latin American team to support and head to the appropriate venue. For example, Pio Pio serves some of the best Colombian and Peruvian food in town--and the Colombia fans won't leave you hanging, either.
And that goes for other ethnic restaurants as well: check out Schumann's Jäger Haus for Germany games, Nelore Churrascaria for Brazil games, Don Jefe's for Mexico games, Lolailo for Spain games, and The Fox & Hounds or St. Andrews Tavern for England games, just to name a few.
We probably left off quite a few, so tell us where you'll be watching the 2014 World Cup in Orlando! Leave a comment below!