A Beginner’s Guide to a Grown Man’s Fantasy: The Vancouver Viewing Guide to the 2014 FIFA World Cup – Part 2
by Justin Nearon
Spanish Futebol supporters on Robson Street, Vancouver – Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG
Last week I started a guide to World Cup viewing in and around the Lower Mainland. The point wasn’t merely to find venues to watch the tournament, but ones that were culturally specific to each and every team competing for the Cup. Despite my best efforts I was unable to find homes for everyone, so for the displaced fans of Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Ghana, and Uruguay, I have listed a few fine establishments that will be happy to fly flags of any colour.
The Edgewater Casino continues to make it’s FIFA presence felt, as it hosts The Official Latin America House of the 2014 World Cup. It’s an obvious spot to enjoy Uruguay vs Costa Rica on July 14th (12pm PST) and Ecuador vs Honduras on July 20th (3pm PST).
On July 18th (3pm PST) grab a table at The London Pub in Chinatown for Cameroon vs Croatia. Judging by all the soccer jerseys hanging in the rafters, a vibrant World Cup atmosphere seems very important to them.
Have a late breakfast at The Charles Bar, with their virtual wall of of television screens, to watch Ghana vs Germany at noon on July 21st. Once that game is finished hop on over to The Charles’ Seymour Street neighbours, The Cambie. A magnet for backpackers, this Vancouver institution should have the perfect international flare for Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Nigeria at 3pm (PST).
Make your way back to Gastown on July 22nd for some food and football at the Lamplighter. The big oak tables and bigger projector screen should be perfect for watching Algeria and South Korea have a kick at 12pm (PST).
My final neutral site recommendation is an area very familiar with hosting a multitude of nationalities: The Olympic Village on False Creek. One of the lasting legacies of the 2010 Winter Games, the Village is home to the Tap and Barrel Grill which would be a great spot to watch Colombia vs Japan on July 24th at 1pm (PST). Better than my house at least for all you Colombian fans (See: Part 1 of this guide).
Ghana fans at the Afro Hair Studio on Commercial Drive – Susan Gittins-flickr
Thanks for indulging me in that brief interlude. Now lets get back to the real reason we are here: Identifying spots in and around the Lower Mainland that cater to almost any World Cup team you choose to support.
June 22nd – Russia vs Belgium (9am PST): The Russian House in Burnaby broadcasted the opening of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in February. I’m assuming they will give their national football team the same treatment this summer.
June 22nd – Portugal vs USA (3pm PST): The Commercial Drive Business Society should be paying me a commission, as I send you back to The Drive once again, this time in support of Portugal. The aptly named Portuguese Club of Vancouver or Case Verde should be filled with more than a few like minded fans.
Vancouver is just a three hour drive from, Seattle, so I’d cross the border if you’re cheering for the Red, White and Blue of the USA. If that’s to far to go, you could always stop at the Wheelhouse Bar and Grill in Blaine, Washington and make it back to Canada in less than an hour when you’re done.
June 24th – Greece vs Cote D’Ivoire (1pm PST): Kitsilano is home to a large number of Greek owned establishments and is the place to be when they play. Since were in the area anyway, lets head down to The Local across from Kits beach if you’d prefer to support the Ivory Coast. There’s no guarantee you’ll find other fans of this East African nation there, but what can beat having a few drinks during the game and then crossing the street to sleep it off on the sand.
Netherlands fans at De Dutch Pannekoek House in Surrey, BC – www.windsorstar.com
June 26th – Germany vs USA (9am PST): If you want to be surrounded by like minded German fans, then The Vancouver Alpen Club (Alphenhaus) is a no brainer. Watch the German side play a US team that is coached by German football legend Juergen Klinsmann, all on Vancouver’s largest HD screen. What can beat that?
June 26th – South Korea vs Belgium (1pm PST): You’re only problem in finding a venue to cheer on the ‘Taegeuk Warriors’ will be an abundance of choice. TV equipped Korean bbq houses and restaurants are scattered all over the lower mainland, especially so in Richmond, the West End and North Van. Having said that, the conveniently named Library Square Pub is Club ESL and UvanU sponsored which should attract many of the Korean students living in the city.
Finally, like the symmetry of a soccer ball we end our FIFA World Cup viewing tour where it all began: Commercial Drive. At the North East corner of Grandview Park sits BierCraft Tap and Tapas where Belgian pride should be as strong as the 120 Belgian beers on their drink menu. If ‘The Drive’s’ lingering Italian and Portuguese support is too much for you, head over to one of the franchise’s other location in the Cambie Village .
When all is said done, Vancouver is one of the more culturally harmonious cities I’ve ever lived in. It might be fun to be surrounded by like minded fans who are supporting the same team as you, but it’s by no means a requirement and may even be a slight hindrance to enjoying the tournament . One of the great qualities of the FIFA World Cup is the global harmony that is temporarily inspired by this shared celebration. That harmony is a lot less evident when you’re only surrounded by people flying the same flag as you.
Celebrate your comrades. Celebrate your competitors. Celebrate the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
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