She's got game: Silvana Lima, a waitress at Miss Favela's, shows off her Brazilian pride. Head to the Williamsburg bar to root for the team during the World Cup, or check out our guide below for all the World Cup action.
By Aaron Short
The World Cup kicks off in South Africa this week, but you don’t need to travel the globe to catch the soccer action.
All across Brooklyn, bars and restaurants will be draped with patriotic flags and their boob tubes turned to the games for the international sporting event of the season.
With that, here’s our guide to the best places to catch your favorite team play, from the Australians to the Americans.
The games begin on June 11 and continue through August.
Radegast Hall and Biergarten [113 N. Third St. at Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3973]
Brooklyn’s easy-going, lighthearted German fans are set to conquer Radegast Biergarten in Williamsburg in the hope of rooting for Deutchland to take home the cup this year. The bar’s owners are Slovakian and they describe the beer hall as Austro-Hungarian, but all three countries were under German control once, so what is a few more weeks? With 13 beers on tap and another 45 bottles available, the crowds could get spirited in a hurry, particularly if Germany triumphs. Just don’t expect the Germans to pick up the tab for any of their Greek or Turkish friends.
Miss Favela’s [57 S. Fifth St. at Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 230-4040]
Every weekend at Miss Favela’s is Carnivale, but it won’t be if Brazil doesn’t advance out of the Group of Death and advance to the finals. Cheer on Kaka and the rest of the team with Brooklyn’s most attractive brunch crowd at Miss Favela’s, which will televise all the games and feature a special menu. Just don’t root against the home team or it could be Kaka for you.
La Mancha [135 Atlantic Ave. between Henry and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 797-1975]
Spain has one thing on its mind this year after suffering an early round exit to France in 2006: revenge! Where else to stir the passions of vengeance than at La Mancha in Brooklyn Heights? Just as Pele has anointed Spain as the favorites in this year’s tournament, we at Community Newspaper Group have anointed the paella as our favorite dish at La Mancha. Definitely fiesta with fans of the team that is probably going to win the whole darn thing, while taunting the French who watched the game at Floyd’s.
Madiba [195 DeKalb Ave. between Carlton Avenue and Adelphi Street in Fort Greene, (718) 855-9190]
Come for the soccer, stay for the bunny chow, perhaps South Africa’s national dish consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry. Madiba has certainly been soaking up the attention from being the one South African bar and restaurant in the city when the World Cup is hosted by South Africa. In fact, there’s a whole smorgasbord of comfort food to savor from breyani (rice pilaf with curry and lentils) to samoosas, to chicken wings with spicy peri-peri sauce when South Africa makes a quick exit from the Cup after falling apart to France and Mexico. Sorry, but that’s the reality.
Bar Tabac [128 Smith St. at Dean Street in Cobble Hill (718) 923-0918]
The defeat of France following Zinedine Zidane’s ejection in the second half of the epic World Cup title game in 2006 devastated Brooklyn’s Francophiles, but they are a hardy bunch. Head back to Smith Street, Brooklyn’s Champs-Elysees, this summer, and cheer on Thierry Henry and the Rouge, Blanc et Bleu. Be sure to savor your shrimp briochette with a chenin blanc and your steak frites with a Bordeaux, because if you don’t pair your wine with your food properly, France will lose and it will be your fault.
Sheep Station [149 Fourth Ave. at Douglass Street in Park Slope, (718) 857-4337]
Australia may not have a chance this year, but that won’t stop these Aussies from celebrating win or lose at Sheep Station. With two big screens and drink specials throughout the World Cup season, ex-pats from the outback can at least enjoy each other’s company and extra helpings of beer battered fish and burgers while their team suffers crippling defeat after crippling defeat to Germany and Ghana.
Black Horse Pub [568 Fifth Ave. at 16th Street in Park Slope, (718) 788-1975]
It has been 44 years since Mother England won the World Cup, but if Wayne Rooney stops playing like Andy Rooney, this could finally be the year that Queen Elizabeth II hoists the golden cup over her trembling shoulders. Join the fun — or the vicious, heartbreaking agony — at Black Horse Pub in Park Slope, a nascent British pub that may be the feistiest place to drown one’s sorrows on drink specials after the Americans upset England on June 12.
Tulcingo Deli [5520 Fifth Ave. between 55th and 56th streets in Sunset Park, (718) 439-2896]
If Mexico happens to advance out of the first round, there could be a party on the streets of Sunset Park with honking horns, waiving flags and impromptu parades. Head to Tulcingo Deli before the game and soak it all in while enjoying among the most delicious carne asada tacos in Brooklyn. Brush up on your Spanish before heading down, but it’s all good. Just remember that futbol means soccer and goooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!!!!!!! means someone just scored.
Omonia Café [7612 Third Ave. between 76th and 77th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 491-1435]
Skip Astoria and head to Bay Ridge instead, where a small, but vocal, Greek community will surely be flocking to Omonia Café starting at 8 am to watch the home team try to play its way out of crippling debt, er, we mean out of the opening round. Fans hope that the only inflation they see during the game will be the soccer ball.
Café Italia [6917 18th Ave. between 69th and 70th streets in Bensonhurst, (718) 234-7010]
Viva Italia! Four years ago, Italy’s thrilling victory in a tense 5-3 overtime shootout against France sent an estimated 10,000 people onto the streets of Bensonhurst, shutting down traffic on 18th Avenue. This year, head back to the place where it all began, Café Italia, where you can cheer for Italy to defend its 2006 title. Forza Italia is probably not going to win again, but if they do … free canolis?
Wheeler’s Restaurant [1707 Sheepshead Bay Rd. near Voorhies Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 646-9320]
This Sheepshead Bay haunt is as unpretentious as it gets. All the games will be televised during the World Cup, and since the crowd leans toward the Americans, it’ll be a great place to knock back a few while rooting for ol’ Red, White and Blue.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini