Skip work, paint your face and day drink without guilt—it’s The Six Fifty’s Guide to viewing the Beautiful Game!!

The thrill, the agony. Spectators react as Spain scores in OT over the Netherlands during the 2010 World Cup final. (Photo by Charles Russo)

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off last Thursday in Moscow. Host country Russia took on Saudi Arabia in Luzhniki Stadium, winning 5–0, at 6pm local time, which was 8am for us. Yep, you read that right. Due to the 10-hour time difference, all 64 of the tournament’s matches will start before noon if you are watching from the Golden State.

But fear not. Bars and breweries across the Peninsula are flinging open their doors early to make sure you don’t miss a minute of the action.

The U.S. men’s team got eliminated during qualifiers — whoops. But stay tuned. Reigning champs of the Women’s World Cup, the United States is expected to play in next year‘s tournament in France. (Photo by Charles Russo)

Your cheatsheet to who’s playing, and when, is available here. FIFA graciously lists the matches with broadcasters and kick-off times automatically tailored to your timezone so there’s no need to overtax your brain before that second cup of coffee.

Spanning 12 stadiums in 11 cities, the tournament will run for four weeks. The final face-off will happen back in Luzhniki Stadium on Jul. 15 at 6pm local time, which again means 8am for us. Got it? Good. You’re ready.

World Cup fans — here’s where to go for big screens, beers and breakfast.

Head inside The Rose & Crown to see soccer scarves decorating the ceiling. (Photo via Facebook)

The Rose & Crown

Unpretentious and funky, The Rose & Crown is an oft-crowded hole-in-the-wall frequented by serious soccer — er football — fans. The cozy English pub has basic pub fare, a large selection of beer on tap and darts.

A key World Cup locale on the Peninsula, the Rose & Crown will open early for the 8am and 11am matches, plus selected 5am matches if there’s popular demand.

Specials include PABC World Cup Pale Ale for $5 and Weinstephaner Lager for $10 if you keep the boot, or just $8 for the half-liter. For the 8am matches, The Rose and Crown will open early and offer breakfast burritos for sale until the full kitchen revs up later in the day.

The Rose & Crown // 547 Emerson St, Palo Alto (650) 327–7673

Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30am-1pm, Thursday-Saturday, 11:30am-1:30am (*Open early on select game days, call ahead for info)

Expand your beer tastes while watching the game by trying the house-brewed English-style cask ales. (Photo via Instagram)

Freewheel Brewing Company

A neighborhood hub popular for live music and a cool vibe, you’ll likely hear three cheers for Great Britain during the tournament amid Freewheel’s English pub atmosphere (but fans of all teams are more than welcome, of course.) The brewery will be regularly opening early for the 11am matches, and then super early for the World Cup final.

Freewheel specializes in locally-made English-style cask ales, a classic way to brew and serve beer using natural carbonation. In practical terms, this means that depending on what you order, your beer may arrive at cellar temperature (50 degrees). Be sure to ask questions if this is new — servers are happy to help the uninitiated.

Local hard cider and wine are also available if you aren’t in the mood for beer, as well as a host of pub food options. Burgers and fish and chips are popular bets.

Freewheel Brewing Company // 3736 Florence St, Redwood City (650) 365–2337

Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30am-10pm, Thursday-Saturday until 11pm (***Open early for all 11am matches, as well as the 8am final on July 15)

Shoot-out agony, as Japan falls in 2010. (Photo by Charles Russo)

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

Fantastic for foodies, Steins Beer Garden and Restaurant offers a seasonal selection of American-style cuisine options — everything made from scratch — as well as cocktails and craft and imported beers.

The chicken and waffles and catfish po’boy sandwich are big hits. One Yelp reviewer said the former was the best he’s ever had. (Photos via Instagram)

With several large TV screens, you can dine and watch the game in delicious comfort. You can even make a full day out of it by showing up for the 11am match on Thursday, Jun. 28, and sticking around or coming back at 5pm to participate in Steins’ Summer Series. Fort Point Brewing Company will be showcasing its beers on the outdoor patio until 7pm.

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant // 895 Villa St, Mountain View (650) 963–9568

Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm, Friday until 12am, Saturday, 10am-12am, Sunday, 10am-10pm (*Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant will maintain regular hours until they switch to an earlier opening time for the World Cup quarter-finals, beginning on July 6.)

Settle in for the game at the Irish-owned and managed St. Stephens Green. (Photo via Instagram)

St. Stephens Green

A traditional Irish pub, St. Stephens Green is the perfect place to relax and watch a match on one of 13 high-definition TVs. Two screens are huge at 106 inches and 92 inches respectively, so you’ll have a clear view of the action.

The dim lighting and exposed brick walls make St. Stephens Green cozy and dark, a nice place to settle in, forget your worries and cheer to your heart’s content. The pub is famous for burgers, fish and chips and its wide selection of draft beers.

St. Stephens Green will be opening early for most matches; check their World Cup viewing list to get the specific times.

St. Stephens Green // 223 Castro St, Mountain View (650) 964–9151

Monday-Friday, 11:30am-2am, Saturday-Sunday, 9am — 2am (check times)

The culture-spanning mania that is the World Cup. (Photos by Charles Russo)

Faultline Brewing Company

Spacious and industrial-chic, Faultline Brewing Company offers fine dining and house-brewed beer under high ceilings and exposed beams. Relaxed with a friendly atmosphere, the brewpub is a favorite of the local business casual crowd who tend to flock to the gorgeous outdoor patio.

Pair one of Faultline’s local brews with house-smoked hot wings. (Photo via Instagram)

For the World Cup, Faultline Brewing Company will open early Monday-Friday for the 11am matches. So head inside to the bar where more than 25 locally-brewed ales and lagers await you. All are brewed without using fruit, vegetable or other flavorings. Food options include blackened fish tacos, barbecue pulled pork, Thai curry-garlic fries and hot wings.

Faultline Brewing Company // 1235 Oakmead Pkwy, Sunnyvale (408) 736–2739

Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-10:30pm, Saturday, 5pm-10:30pm (Open early for 11am matches on weekdays)

The Patio

Boasting the longest bar in Palo Alto, The Patio has 32 TVs and a large outdoor covered seating area so you can cheer in the fresh air. By night, the hangout turns into a dance club.

Soccer fans watch a match at The Patio — on the patio (left). (Photo via Instagram)

Catch the 11am games over Steak & Eggs with a Bloody Mary and a very local vibe.

The Patio // 412 Emerson St, Palo Alto (650) 322–2575

Monday-Friday, 11am-1:30am, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-1:30am

Don’t Cry for me Argentina? Things go south in the quarter finals. (Photo by Charles Russo)

The Old Pro

Last but not least — a stop at The Old Pro during the World Cup is an absolute must. A local institution since 1964, The Old Pro is famous for its fun and rowdy atmosphere.

The Old Pro is voted best sports bar in Palo Alto. Top off your breakfast during the game with a Bloody Mary (right). (Photos via Instagram)

True to form, the award-winning sports bar is pulling out all the stops again for the World Cup, offering up a breakfast buffet from 7:30am-10:30am on early-morning match days. Fill up on scrambled eggs, potatoes, French toast, yoghurt and more.

Hundreds of fans of all ages came through during past World Cups, so prepare for big, cheery crowds.

The Old Pro // 541 Ramona St, Palo Alto (650) 326–1446

Monday, 4pm-12am, Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-2am, Sunday, 11am-12am (Will open 7.30am for the 8am matches)

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Brisket by the Bay: the Six Fifty’s guide to southern BBQ on the Peninsula

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Marie von Hafften

Data Architect | Solutions Journalism Network (solutionsjournalism.org)

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