By Alex Labidou
During the World Cup Group Stages, 90:00 Soccer will take a look at various cultures and their takes on the major tournament through visiting various venues locally. There will be hilarious tales and interesting insight. On June 26th, we will unveil our recommendations of where to watch the knockout stages. Enjoy!
Estancia460 (New York City), Argentina 1, Nigeria 0 (Argentinean),
Upon first entering the cozy Estancia460 in NYC’s trendy Tribeca area, an avid soccer fan might be initially turned off by the venue’s solo high definition television that is on display for the entire spot. However, it is only a minor blemish on an otherwise stellar soccer experience. Don’t let the artsy vibe of the spot fool you, there are a number of knowledgeable soccer fans at Estancia 460 who love their Argentinean national team. The venue’s extensive Argentinean wine collection on its walls were often rattling left and right as fans hollered at the screen wanting their team to capitalize on its 1-0 lead over Nigeria. The star of Estancia460 is Stacey Sosa, the owner of the comfortable venue. Even though she confesses that she isn’t the hugest soccer fan, which is rare for Argentines, her lively demeanor provides a spirited atmosphere for her customers. The food and drinks were superb, especially the Milanesa A Caballo that’s served for brunch. Two sunny-side up eggs with thinly sliced lightly breaded chicken breasts were palette satisfying and the perfect remedy for anyone who might have partied a bit too much for the World Cup the night before. Sosa promises that there will be a huge party at the venue should Argentina make the World Cup final, hopefully we’ll get to see what she has up her sleeves.
Strengths: The initiate venue is a positive change of pace from your typical bar setting. Delicious food and drinks at very fair prices especially considering the neighborhood. Knowledgeable fans and of course, Stacey Sosa.
Weakness: The one television is a bummer, especially considering that if you don’t get a table you won’t be able to watch any matches.
Over The Top Soccer Fan: There were these two lovely young women who were Argentina fans who constantly teased my Nigerian friend about his green shirt. Towards the end of the game, they admitted that they couldn’t name any player aside from Lionel Messi. Attention bandits!
The Knitting Factory (Brooklyn), United States 1, England 1 (Neutral but leans British)
In search of a venue that wasn’t too insanely crowded, a colleague of mine suggested that I take a look at the Knitting Factory over in Williamsburg. When I first entered the bar, I was instantly worried about the fact that they were having a spoons and cartoons party that basically had Heman and Thundercats on display with free cereal passed around. Don’t get me wrong, Thundercats is cool but not 20 minutes before the most anticipated match of the World Cup. Luckily for me, the cartoon lovers shortly made their exit and the games came on. The Knitting Factory has some great deals for the WC including three dollar drafts and four dollar mixed drinks and the laid back vibe was welcome. Fans were cheering but maybe not going insane as they would in say Dempseys or Nevada Smiths. It was also great to have some welcome breathing room that is usually hard to find during US games in NYC. The only gripe I had was the sometimes newbie soccer fans who didn’t even know who Landon Donovan is. I mean I get it if you can’t differentiate between Jay DeMerit and Michael Bradley, but America’s greatest soccer player? The Brits at the bar were even laughing. Other than that the Knitting Factory is highly recommended.
Strengths: A bar with quality televisions and projection screens that isn’t a typical soccer dive bar venue. Cheap drinks and fun bartenders.
Weaknesses: Newbie soccer fans that claim to be diehard US fans but can’t name who the team’s starting Goalie is. Jeez…
Over The Top Soccer Fan: Myself. Let’s just say I really took advantage of those specials. In fact, I am not writing about any more of my US soccer experiences as I might not have a coherent image of what transpired throughout.