4012 30th Street, North Park
3404 30th Street, North Park
I was people-watching on the corner of 30th and University, wondering which would be the best bar to watch the upcoming World Cup game, United States versus Ghana. An older couple walked by, the white man wearing a United States Men's National Team jersey, holding hands with an African-American woman wearing Ghana colors. A minute after, three guys walked by me, dressed like Pacific Beach bros, none wearing a soccer jersey. “Hey man, are you local? We are from the East Coast, just wondering what's the best bar to watch the game?”
Choosing a bar out of 20+ venues to watch the game was not an easy decision. I named a few of the places I had in mind, but got interrupted by a passerby. “Head over to Toronado, just walk up on this street and you'll see a sign that says BEER!”
Coin-Op was an attractive choice, but the arcades would distract me from the game. I stumbled into Redwing, which was pretty empty and had plenty of TVs. I sat next to an older gentleman that seemed to know every single person in the bar.
30 seconds into the game and Clint Dempsey broke the record for the earliest goal the USMNT has ever scored in a World Cup. It was the fastest goal in the tournament so far, and also the 5th earliest goal in all of World Cup history.
“I don't know much about soccer. I was a middle school teacher for 35 years and just recently started watching.” The older gentleman told me as he saw me excitedly shouting at the TV. “What's up with that guy's hair?” He was referring to Kyle Beckerman, who has a heavy set of dreadlocks.
More people continued to arrive at Redwing, but they had already missed the early action. Everyone shrieked in disgust when Clint Dempsey received an accidental kick to the face in minute 32, breaking his nose. The Seattle Sounders player and US team captain fought through and played the whole game.
At half-time, I decided to switch venues and walked to Bluefoot at 30th and Upas. A line of 12 people greeted me outside the bar. Bluefoot was packed to the brim; a few people wore USMNT jerseys. Not wanting to miss a second of the game, I ran to find somewhere else. The atmosphere at Waypoint attracted me, but they only had one small TV and a projector that was barely visible. After standing around awkwardly for a minute, I left and headed back to my comfortable spot in Redwing.
A seemingly drunk woman was next to me, ordering a drink, when André Ayew scored for Ghana in minute 82. “Did something bad happened?” the woman, oblivious to the game, asked no one in particular as the collective sigh of frustration was heard.
Four minutes later, John Brooks Jr., a defender who came in for DaMarcus Beasley, scored with a header in the 86th minute. Everyone erupted with shouts of joy, followed with collective chants of “USA! USA!” I almost hugged the stranger that sat next to me as the game concluded and the USMNT gained the first of the three necessary points in their group phase.
The next game for the USMNT is on June 22nd at noon and is against Portugal, a much tougher rival.