Sure, watching Wold Cup matches with rowdy, rabid fans is a big part of the fun, but how much bad bar food can you actually handle during the month-long tournament? Here's how to score a goal and where to watch the World Cup in NYC. At these spots, you'll be guaranteed Latin favorites on the menu, tables packed with loyal fans, creative cocktails or extensive wine lists, and screens big enough to see each match.
Centro Español and the La Nacional Tapas Bar and Restaurant
Under normal circumstances, La Nacional Tapas Bar and Restaurant, located in the 14th Street brownstone of the cultural club, Centro Español, is calm and quiet. But World Cup, of course, doesn't count as normal circumstances.
You can be sure that Spanish and Catalan expats will show up here in flag-waving droves, as eager to indulge in La Nacional's renowned paella and other classic dishes, including tortilla española, pulpo a la gallega, and arroz negro (all washed down with sangria, of course), as they are to cheer on players.
Other soccer fans in the know will make lines up the street to gain entry to the club and its restaurant, which, while open to the public, will not be accepting reservations: it's first-come, first-serve only.
Boqueria, a Barcelona-inspired tapas bar, will be opening at noon on every game day during the World Cup, showing every match on large screens. Cheese and charcuterie platters and traditional tapas, including patatas bravas and tortilla española, can be accompanied by cava or a tinto from the extensive wine list. And if you're hungry for something sweet, order churros con chocolate or mel i mató, whipped fresh cow’s milk ricotta cheese with candied walnuts, berries, and honey.
These sister restaurants will show day and night matches (except on Mondays, when the restaurants are closed) and menus will feature specials reflecting the flavors and favorite dishes of the Latin American country that's playing. At Cómodo, try the mezcal octopus with warm kale or the lamb sliders on pão de queijo. And if you want a “Little Piece of Brazil,” ask for it, your Colonia Verde server will bring you a coconut yuca cake with lime zest. Be sure to order a drink from Colonia Verde's cocktail menu, which has all the requisite Latin American spirits, mezcal, tequila, rum, and pisco among them. At Colonia Verde, you can watch the game at the bar or in the garden; for a full schedule of games showing at which restaurant, check this list.
Next, we head to Chelsea and Brooklyn...