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Posted at 2:29 PM ET, 08/22/2005

The Soccer Scene

By Fritz Hahn

With the English soccer season underway as of last weekend, here's a look at the top spots bringing Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United to early risers on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Check each bar's individual Web site for a schedule of upcoming games.

Fado Irish Pub remains a personal favorite, thanks to a large projection screen, imperial pints of Guinness, a filling Irish breakfast platter (eggs, rashers, sausages, baked beans, etc.) and a very lively crowd that contains a number of ex-pats. Arrive early or you'll stand for 90 minutes. There's no cover for most matches -- international and F.A. Cup games are the exceptions -- and Fado is open on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Click here to see Fado's schedule)

Bar Pilar kicked off its new Sunday brunch and live soccer combo yesterday. There's only one television in the 14th Street saloon, but it's a decent-sized flat-screen right in the center of the bar. The breakfast menu includes a plate of biscuits smothered in thick gravy and little chunks of spicy sausage. (Sadly, I didn't get the promised side of tater tots.) My brunch date had huevos rancheros and my new favorite breakfast cocktail: a very tasty Bloody Mary garnished with crispy, burnt applewood bacon. (I had to sneak a taste of the drink, but she ate the bacon as soon as the glass was placed in front of her.) Doors open at 11 -- just in time for featured Sunday matches -- and there's no cover.

Long the destination of choice for area soccer fans, Summers won over a whole new group of converts by sprucing up the dining room, adding dozens of flat-screen televisions and announcing that there would be no smoking during live matches. Summers has the most screens of any soccer-friendly bar, and it's usually pretty easy to get a table or barstool with a view of the game. Too bad the food is second-rate and servers tend to disappear. Grab your coffee and doughnuts elsewhere before heading over here. There's no longer a cover charge for most games, though a $10 minimum is in effect. (Click here to see the Summers schedule.)

Finally, there's Lucky Bar, which has a massive projection screen; plenty of seating; games from England, Italy, France and elsewhere every weekend; sub-standard bar food (think cheese-covered nachos at 10 a.m.) and loads of supporters for big games. There's been some grumbling about Lucky's decision to reinstate $10 cover charges for "feature matches" between big clubs, such as yesterday's London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea, but most weekends only require a $10 minimum tab. A side note: Owner Paul Lusty supports Manchester United and Cardiff City. (Click here for the "Soccer Nation" schedule.)

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 22, 2005; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Fritz, which of these is the most likely bet to catch the increasingly important World Cup qualifiers, like the games of September 3 & 7?

Posted by: Myke | August 23, 2005 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Summers and Lucky Bar are your best bets.

Posted by: Fritz | August 23, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Fritz, if I let you eat the bacon and drink my Blood Mary without having to sneak sips, will you go to brunch with me? ;) Thanks for the update. Now I know how to score points with the lads. BTW, have you ever read "How Soccer Explains The World: An Unlikely Theory Of Globalization"? I think it would appeal to your interests, not that I know your politics (and rightfully so, DC's nightlife doesn't need to be politicized anymore that it is already by sheer exposure to the Capitol). :)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2005 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Fritz, you seem to have forgotten about Spanish football. Seeing as Bar Pilar is a Hemmingway-themed bar, and Hemmingway spent plenty of time in Spain (and all of Europe, granted), will the place be showing more English or Spanish games?

I realize Liverpool won the Champion's League last year, but don't forget that players such as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Bechham, and Zidane, all play in Spain. :)

Posted by: chamarts | August 24, 2005 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Any info on places that might show Argentine soccer matches and/or WCQ for Latin America?


Posted by: thud | August 25, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Nk... Summers usually has all S. American qualifying matches on, i think they charge a cover, though. Argie Primera are on late sunday afternoon @ Summers.

It's nice ot have all these places around, but they really need to step it up w/ regards ot the food, and maybe give a decent drink special or 2 to people coming ot their bar at 10 in the morning.

Posted by: d, dc | August 26, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Lucky Bar has a breakfast menu if you happen to be there at 10 am. Yes, the Nachos are mediocre. Perhaps you should make a second trip try their home-made hummus, catfish po-boy, salmon cakes or anything else on the brand-new and improved menu. Lucky Bar food is the best.

Also, I suppose a 10$ tab minimum might seem outrageous to some folks. But please, dear soccer fans: think about how annoying it is for your waitress to fill your water glass 40 times during a match while you order nothing but a $3.00 basket of French Fries, and then leave a 50 cent tip. Now does the minimum make sense?

Posted by: Lucky Lady | September 14, 2005 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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