The 2014 FIFA World Cup is in full swing down in Brazil, and as a soccer fan I’m thrilled that the world’s most popular sport is getting so much attention in the U.S. Every single match is being broadcast live on ESPN. Companies are creating World Cup and soccer-themed ads, right and left. Retailers like The Gap, Old Navy, and J. Crew are selling soccer-themed shirts. #WorldCup2014 is trending on Facebook and Twitter, and it’s actually making the mainstream news. Even the Google Doodle of the day has been World-Cup themed since the start of the tournament!
Thanks to ESPN’s coverage, families can watch any World Cup match on their televisions or tablets. If you don’t have cable TV, there are many establishments around the Bay Area showing World Cup matches on their TV screens. Unfortunately for soccer’s youngest fans, most of these places tend to be pubs and bars — which means raucous fans and rude language.
Fortunately there are a few places to watch the World Cup where you don’t have to expose your child to the smell of stale beer. Here are a few family-friendly places where you can watch a match and soak in the spirit of the World Cup:
1) Nino’s Pizzeria & Brazilian Restaurant in Berkeley will be showing World Cup matches during open hours, so you can cheer on your favorite teams and munch on Italian style or Brazilian style pizza.
2) Select World Cup matches will be shown at the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza, right across from City Hall. This free family event also features youth skills clinics, face painting, and food trucks. The event draws thousands of fans, so get there early to snag a good spot in front of the big screen.
3) Oakland’s New Parkway Theatre is showing nearly all World Cup matches on the big screen, so fans can watch all the action in a comfy chair and order food and drinks delivered straight to their seat. Tickets are $5 each, $10 for USA matches.
4) Agave Mexican Bistro in Mountain View is bright and cheerful, and informal enough for parents to feel comfortable taking their kids along. Multiple screens will be showing World Cup matches. If the noise gets too overwhelming for the little ones, opt for the outdoor patio seating.
5) The City of San Jose, the San Jose Earthquakes, and the San Jose Downtown Association are sponsoring outdoor viewing parties for select World Cup matches at Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park and St. James’ Park. These “Summer of Soccer” events will feature live music, gourmet food trucks, and Earthquakes giveaways.