The FIFA World Cup officially starts today and everybody is talking about the massive proportions of the South African event. To give you an idea, the Superbowl attracts 106 million viewers while the World Cup Final alone will attract more than 715 million viewers!
So where can you watch the World Cup during your trip to Montreal? Well, it all depends on what team you’re rooting for, but one thing is sure: as one of America’s richest cultural mosaics, Montreal is a very exciting place to be during this year’s World Cup!
Here’s a list of local neighborhood bars that will cater to your soccer cravings.
Best for: England supporters
BURGUNDY LION (where: 2496 Rue Notre Dame West, 514-934-0888)
Located in St-Henri, Burgundy Lion is a modern English pub with traditional English cuisine mixed with a laid back and hip Montreal feel. The neighborhood has been blooming over the last few years, making Burgundy Lion a place of choice for young professionals and pub-lovers seeking higher quality food, drinks and service. The stylish English pub spans on two floors, allowing for plenty of space to indulge in traditional whiskey and catch a World Cup game. Italian supporters need not apply.
Players to watch: Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole
Best for: Italian supporters
CAFÉ OLIMPICO (where: 124 St-Viateur West, 514-495-0746)
England fans should stay away from this legendary Montreal café. Here, you are on Italian territory. If you didn’t catch that by the name Olimpico, you’ll quickly get the picture at the sight of the AC Milan and Lazio posters that adorn the walls of the famous Mile End hangout. As an Olimpico regular myself, I can testify that you don’t have to be a World Cup expert to feel comfortable here. The café serves as a second home for many artists, hipsters, intellectuals and soccer fans alike. Bonus points for the sunny outdoor patio and always being open for those early World Cup games.
Players to watch: Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo
Best for: Greek supporters
ZORBA’S REMEZZO (where: 5719 Parc Avenue, 514-271-5520)
Zorba’s Remezzo will be opening at 7am for every Greek game when necessary. This restaurant (which also has free wi-fi) is situated right next to the newly re-opened Rialto Theatre, in the heart of the Greek neighborhood. Get ready for shots of Ouzo everytime “Rehakles”, that’s the mashup name of head coach Otta Rehhagel, makes a good call. And don’t forget to say Yiamas! That being said, little hope exists for Greece. Sorry guys.
Best for: French supporters
LE MASSILIA (where: 4543 Parc Avenue, 514 678-1862)
Le Massillia is a favorite spot for soccer fans – especially the French kind. It serves as Montreal’s only Marseilles-syle bistro offering delicious food such as croque-monsieurs and other popular provençal finger food. Oh, and pastis too! Encore, s’il vous plaît!
Players to watch: Winger Franck Ribéry, midfielder Yoann Gourcuff and defender Patrice Évra
Best for : Feeling like you’re in Africa
RESTAURANT TOMBOUCTOU (where: 6000 Côte des Neiges, 514 738 0060)
Many Cameroon supporters will be found at this colourful Côte des Neiges restaurant which serves delicious African and Caribbean food. Make sure you try the Yassa or the fish without forgetting a good portion of yam.
Players to watch (Cameroon) : Samuel Eto’o and midfield dynamo, Alexandre Song.
Player to watch (South Africa) : Steven Pienaar
Players to watch (Nigeria): Obafemi Martins and John Mikel Obi.
Best for: Portugal supporters
CAFÉ CENTRAL (where: 4051 Saint Dominique Street, 514-289-9367)
Café Central can be an intimidating place to walk into but is one of the most authentic Portuguese experiences available in Montreal. Located on the corner of Duluth and St-Dominique, the café feels like an old private club. There are always aged Portuguese men smoking on the front porch and for years of living on that street, I have never seen a single woman walk into that establishment. I have myself never set foot at Café Central, but this year’s World Cup might be the perfect excuse to do so!
Players to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Liédson
Best for: Brazil supporters
BAYOU BRAZIL (where: 4552 Saint Denis Street, 514-847-0088)
Head to Bayou Brazil to support this obvious World Cup contender. The Brazilian restaurant offers a diverse and flavorful cuisine that brings together the best of Brazilian and Cajun cooking. Finger-licking good! Bonus points for the carnival atmosphere that will reign at this Montreal landmark when Kakà and his team make history.
Players to watch: Kakà, Luis Fabiano, Maicon
Best for: Spain supporters
CLUB ESPAGNOL (where: 4388 boulevard Saint-Laurent, 514-849-1737)
Para mis amigos de España, I recommend the friendly Club Espagnol on St-Laurent Boulevard. The restaurant is a real gathering spot for Montreal’s Spanish community. Food is authentic and the atmosphere lively. Make sure you order one – or all of the above: spanish omelette, fried calamari, mussels in tomato sauce and Paella Valenciana.
Players to watch : David Villa, Iniesta and Xavi
Best for : Pints of Guinness
YE OLDE ORCHARD PUB (where: 20 Prince Arthur Street, 514-845-7772)
Ye Olde Orchard is where you should head for the good old Irish dry stout known as Guinness beer. There are three Ye Olde Orchards in Montreal, but I suggest the one on Prince-Arthur as you’ll be at the heart of Montreal’s trendy Plateau neighborhood and steps away from St-Laurent Boulevard. This spot has become a favorite amongst neighbourhood regulars, scenesters and sports enthusiasts.
All this being said….may the best team win! Happy World Cup 2010 to you all!