The Soccer Scene
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.)
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