There’s probably a better than average chance you will hear the words “World Cup” uttered at least once everyday over the next five weeks. It is that one time every four years that soccer teams representing 32 nations converge to do battle and determine who is the best in the world. And while I am not here to argue the merrits of soccer versus the more accepted American sports, I am here to tell you that the World Cup is the largest party on the planet and a fantastic opportunity to Fill The Steins. While Maine isn’t necessarily a hot bed of soccer fandom, the World Cup offers the unique opportunity to come out of the dark corners those Irish Pubs or your buddy’s mancave in the basement and actually enjoy the beautiful game with the rest of the general population of sports fans. Here is a look at my recommendations on where to go to catch the matches around the Pine Tree State.
First it is important to know when the matches are going to be played; luckily the tournament being in Brazil means only a one hour time difference. For the first two weeks of the World Cup you can expect to find matches everyday at Noon, 3pm, and 6pm. There are some slight variations to those times, but generally speaking you can take off from work at lunch and be able to enjoy three matches right through the end of dinner. Since this is America, it is also helpful to know when the United States will be playing in the tournament; all matches are available on ESPN:
- Monday June 16th, 6pm – United States vs Ghana
- Sunday June 22nd, 6pm – United States vs Portugal
- Thursday June 26th, Noon – United State vs Germany
If you are looking for an Official US Soccer Bar to watch the matches, there is only in Maine and that’s RiRa on Commercial Street in Portland. I have been going to RiRa for the better part of a decade to catch matches and I must say that they treat both the casual and diehard fans very well. There are plenty of different bar areas to spread out and meet friends and you can count on the matches being piped through the overhead speakers so the entire bar can listen.
If you are not in Portland but like the traditional pub atmosphere you can look into the following locations across Maine to catch the World Cup:
Paddy Murphy’s – 26 Main St, Bangor
- O’Brien’s Pub – 375 Main St, Waterville
- Pedro O’Hara’s – 134 Main St, Lewiston
Now the soccer purists will probably chastise me for saying this, but I have a slightly different idea of the best possible place to watch the World Cup in Maine. May I suggest Buffalo Wild Wings in Bangor, Auburn, or South Portland. Now calm down, you can post your hate comments below, but hear me out on the logic. The World Cup is the once-every-four-years opportunity where our sport is displayed on its biggest stage thus presenting the best opportunity to try to convert casual fans into regular followers. What better place to do that than the biggest possible sports bars in the state for casual sports fans? Yes it is a national chain (please note the local places listed earlier), but it is where the masses gather for food and sports. It’s much like a religious mission, going out to spread the good word of soccer to people who otherwise haven’t seen its graces. The fact that BWW has more televisions than a Best Buy and enough food and beer to cover three matches worth of viewing doesn’t hurt either.
So throw on your Ronaldo, Neymar, and Messi kits, pull your vuvuzela out of the closet, and show these casual fans what our sport is all about.
Where are you going to watch the World Cup in Maine? Who do you have winning it all? Post your comments below and enjoy the tournament!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Gazztoday.com