Where to Get the Ball Rolling: 5 Great Places to Watch the World Cup
As the race to enter the World Cup Round of 16 tightens, sports aficionados and competition junkies should be more enthused than ever. Whether you’re a to-the-grave Ronaldo fan or a self-proclaimed Salah supporter, we’ve rounded out some of the best locations to watch the Cup for that Greek niche of diehard football addicts. Get your head in the game at these five great Athens spots.
Hard Rock Cafe
For those looking to lounge back and relax with a couple of friends and knock back a couple of beers, try Hard Rock. The cafe-bar is located in an elegant atrium with a sliding rooftop, a spacious area where you can absorb every moment of the World Cup on one of Hard Rock’s giant screens. Stroll through the Memorabilia Gallery between games to witness cultural icons’ greatest mementos (including a Chris Martin guitar signed by Coldplay) or make the most of your night out by booking dinner at the restaurant. Best known for their burgers, steaks and cocktails, Hard Rock will surely energize you for even the most extreme matchup. (I’m talking another Portugal vs. Spain duel.) Hard Rock is all about the cool, so grab a football fanatic for some chill Cup viewing. For groups of eight or more, call in to make a reservation.
Adrianou 52, Tel. 210.324.5170, http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/athens/
Molly Malone’s Irish Pub
Molly Malone’s, sister bar to James Joyce Irish Pub in Monastiraki, is an authentic Irish tavern that boasts myriad drink selections in a dim-lit, sepia-inspired space. Unwind with a draught beer and rib eye steak at this foolproof Friday night hangout while watching football’s cream of the crop go head to head. Go for a Heineken at halftime or a Jack Daniels during overtime. Molly Malone’s opens its doors at noon, giving you ample time to get ready for the first match of the day. Invite friends or go solo in style; it’s the perfect place to nuzzle up with a cold bottle and enjoy the Cup. And (as an added bonus), Molly Malone’s is showing all games with English commentary for Athens’ English-deprived football fans. So drive on over to Glyfada and hop on that barstool to cheer on your favorite team.
Giannitsopoulou 8, Glyfada, Tel. 210.894.4247, http://mollymalones.gr/
Buffalo Wings & Rings
For football fans who double as hardcore foodies, this wings joint masterfully blends sports culture with hearty American flavours. Buffalo Wings & Rings invites — even encourages — loud conversations and enthusiastic sports commentary, making it the perfect spot for a football-obsessed group outing. Diners can feast on a selection of sliders, wings (mild or spicy), salads and onion rings, while chugging down locally- and internationally-brewed beers. You can watch every second of the most popular matchups on one of the 50+ television screens that span the walls of the restaurant. Catch Cristiano Ronaldo score another electrifying hat-trick between bites of buffalo chicken nachos or witness a Mexico-vs.-Germany-style upset over roasted garlic wings. Both World Cup enthusiasts and newbies can enjoy the competition as friendly waiters wearing jersey uniforms refill your group’s beers. Invite your co-workers to a casual dinner and evening match or your family for rounds of spicy wings and corner kicks.
Trikoupi Charilaou 127, Néa Erithraía, Tel. +30 210.620.6625, https://buffalowingsandrings.gr/
A true hidden gem, this retro cultural centre and theater hybrid fuses great drinks with a breathtaking view of the Acropolis from its modern terrace. If you’re looking for an alternative or local experience, Bios is the place for you. Lounge in comfortable beach chairs and sip on homemade cocktails as you gush over Senegalese superstar Sadio Mané score another spectacular goal or gaze out at Athens’ cherished Acropolis between halves. The unique spot also serves coffee, perfect for the trendy, occasional football fan. Plus, Bios’ natural lighting is sure to vitalize you for the most dramatic game of the day. Bring your laptop if you are looking to multitask by getting some nagging work done. A great setting for putting a dent in your to-do list, while laying your bets on the last four.
84 Pireos Street, Tel. 210. 342.5335, http://www.bios.gr/
Athens Sports Bar
Located next to a lively Backpackers hostel, Athens Sports Bar combines spirited ambiance with whole-hearted fun. The popular night spot gleams with neon lights and serves up some of our favourite food and drink choices as pre-game snacks. The bar is decked out with World Cup flags, from Sweden to Colombia, or Senegal who’ve earned our vote as the favourite underdogs to back, giving you that extra motivation to cheer on your favourite teams. Service is quick, drinks are cold and the experience is perfect for a football fanatic. We recommend you get there early as seats fill up quickly.
Veikou 3, Athina, Tel. 210.923.5811, http://www.athenssportsbar.com/
Round of 16 Qualifiers
- Group A: Russia, Uruguay
- Group B: Spain, Portugal
- Group C: France, Denmark
- Group D: Croatia, Argentina
- Group E: Brazil, Switzerland
- Group F: Sweden, Mexico
- Group G: England, Belgium
- Group H: Colombia, Japan