Beyond Soccer Bars: How to Really Celebrate the World Cup in NYC

For the next month, you won’t be able to swing a vuvuzela in the city without hitting a footie fanatic. Don’t fight them—join them.

The 2018 World Cup kicks off today in Russia, and you know what that means. Yep, day drinking will be much more socially acceptable for the next month. If your lifestyle allows it, you can grab a pint of breakfast while taking in the action now through July 15. 

And while the United States’s absence means there are fewer World Cup–related events happening Stateside than normal, New York is still an international city and there are plenty of head-spinning ways to experience the tournament. Sure, you could stream games live on your computer at work (you didn’t hear that from us) or watch at a bar, but we’d recommend you venture out from behind your laptop to connect with everyone from jersey-draped superfans to the soccer curious. Here’s what’s happening across the city to celebrate the beautiful game’s biggest event—and one of the best outdoor parties of the year.

Get Lit!

Best known as the creative ambassador for Barneys New York, Simon Doonan has been a fixture on the global fashion scene for more than 35 years.

Simon Doonan shows off his footie (heady?) skills.


Off the runway, though, his life’s main passion has been soccer, and Doonan’s new book, Soccer Style, explores how the sport has shaped our clothes, tattoos, hair, cars, and more. On Thursday, Doonan will be launching his book at the Strand and taking your questions. Kick off the WC in style! June 14, 7–8 p.m.; Strand, 828 Broadway (between East 12th and 13th Streets)

 Pop Into a Pop-Up 

Bowery FC, one of New York’s best amateur soccer clubs, will be curating a pop-up clubhouse for the duration of the World Cup in Williamsburg. Beyond showing every single World Cup match, the clubhouse will feature iconic jerseys from Cups past, as well as residencies from Lagunitas Brewing Company and Kobrick Coffee and a marketplace selling World Cup–related books, magazines, and more. Be sure to swing over on Saturday, June 23, when top soccer magazine Eight by Eight will be hosting a watch party in the clubhouse, showcasing its award-winning artwork and design. (Full disclosure: I write for the mag.) June 14–July 15; 411 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn

Take Your “Lunch Break” in Dumbo

The World Cup is the ideal time to perfect the art of the extended lunch break, and if you work in Dumbo, you’re in luck. During the workweek, dip out of the office early; grab grub from Dumbo Taco, Bluestone Lane, or Untamed Sandwiches; and head over to the Sands Street Plaza to catch some soccer and sun with your fellow footie fans. And if you can’t make it for the weekday matches, the semifinal and final matches will be broadcast in the Dumbo Archway on a massive screen. Bring blankets and chairs and make an afternoon of it. For more info on matches that will be screened, check here. June 14–July 6; 73 Sands Street, Dumbo

Photo courtesy of Taco Dumbo/Facebook

Check Out Tiny Prancers! 

OK, so this one is more World Cup adjacent, but who doesn’t want to watch puppies play soccer? Exactly—not one person in the world. D Pet Hotels is hosting World Cup Pup this Saturday, where you will learn if your dog is more of a Messi or a Ronaldo. The “match” will be officiated by a dog sports coach (that’s a real job, apparently) and will have two commentators (actually, comedians). Proceeds from the event will benefit Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue. Good cause, good times. June 16, 6:30–8:30 p.m.; D Pet Hotels, 104 West 27th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)

Photo by Luiza Sayfullina

Eat a Breakfast With Champions

With so many matches kicking off while you’re still waking up, the 2018 World Cup is going to pose a challenge for fans who can’t spend the next month drunk on the job. Fear not: Kellogg’s Cereal has you covered. At its cereal bar in Union Square, you can watch six World Cup matches and stuff your face with all-you-can-eat cornflakes and coffee for only $20 before you head into the office. Check the event page for the exact schedule of matches it will be showing. While there, you can make a milk toast to the victors. June 15–June 22; 31 East 17th Street (between Broadway and Park Avenue South)

Photo courtesy of Kellogg’s NYC/Facebook @ effortlyss

Root Like a Russian

One of the best ways to experience the diversity of New York is to watch the World Cup matches with fans from that country. And with the Russians hosting this year’s Кубок мирa, there’s no better time to experience New York’s Russian community. If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on the Q train and head down to Sheepshead Bay. First, pop into the Russian Baths of Brooklyn and relax in the sauna and steam room, then head over to the adjacent sports bar to take in one of Russia’s group stage matches. Those are early-round games for all of you not yet fluent in footie. 1200 Gravesend Neck Road, Brooklyn

Go Wild With Joe!

Copa Coffee is a new third-wave coffee company from soccer photographer Marwan Shousher and tattoo artist Alex McWatt that combines their twin passions of ethically sourced joe and ferocious footie. During the World Cup, Shousher and McWatt will be at A Bar for every match, serving strong brews and offering salty analysis of the play on the pitch. Shousher’s photography and McWatt’s art will be on display at the shop, and Umbro and Nike have donated jerseys to be raffled off. Plus, a Warsteiner beer rep will be there for every Germany match with giveaways! 597 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn

Dive Into the Best Soccer Bar in NYC 

I’m a die-hard soccer fan—DC United was my club growing up—but I’m not the biggest fan of soccer bars. For big matches, they tend to get very crowded very quickly, making it hard to order a beer and even harder to appreciate the game. But if you are looking to commune with your fellow fans, you have a ton of options across the city. There are the big joints downtown like Smithfield Hall and Football Factory at Legends. There are the hip ones in Brooklyn such as Banter and Woodwork. There are even a few like Zum Schneider in the East Village, which will be hosting World Cup–related raffles. If you’re going to watch at a bar, you might as well have a chance to win a trip for two to Germany, as well.

Revelers at Smithfield Hall. / Photo by Konstantin Sergeyev (

While all these venues can be gloriously rowdy during the tournament, I’m partial to a quiet Scottish pub in Williamsburg. It’s called Iona. The bartenders know how to properly pour Guinness, the savory pies are classic pub food, and there’s a sun-speckled backyard to relax in between matches. Best of all, it doesn’t get too crowded. Well, normally that’s the case, but remember: The World Cup is never normal. 180 Grand Street, Brooklyn

Photo courtesy of Iona

Kick back, relax…and let us do the planning.