By Evan Sernoffsky
The month of May marks a perfect storm of soccer.
In Europe the UEFA Champions League (probably the coveted trophy in club football) comes to a close. Barcelona and Manchester United face off on May 28th in what is sure to be a historic finale between two of the greatest teams planet earth has ever seen. —
The semi-finals of the Primera Division take place in Mexico on Sunday, May 15, with all four teams eager to add another piece of hardware to their collection.
The Portland Timbers are in the thick of their first MLS season and have already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Even people who don't know squat about soccer are putting on green and heading down to the nearest pub to watch their club win.
The Horse Brass
4534 SE Belmont St., 232-2202
The Horse Brass, southeast Portland's premiere English pub, shows European games every weekend at 9 am and Timbers games at night. "We're not a sports bar, we're an English pub, and soccer is part of that aura," says Joellen Piluso, manager of The Horse Brass.
If your idea of a good time is chugging beers and chest bumping your bros, you might want to try somewhere else. For pints of ale and appreciation of a gentleman's game, The Horse Brass is the spot.
12222 SE Stark St., 261-7173
Fandango, a Mexican restaurant and cantina on Southeast 122nd Avenue, plays Mexico's Primera Division games. "We will be showing games this Sunday between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.," says Oscar Cortez, who works at Fandango and does a little of everything there.
Proximity may be an issue, so you might want to stick close to downtown, especially after putting down ninety minutes worth of Modelos. But if you want authentic football it's worth the drive. Fandango is showing this Sunday's Chivas Guadalajara vs. Pumas and Cruz Azul vs. Morelia semi-finals Primiera matches. For Mexican professional soccer, this is the place to be.
1739 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 238-3693
Everything in 4-4-2 is soccer. The bar looks like a goddamn museum. They even have a corner dedicated to Argentina where Boca Juniors and River Plate scarves hang side-by-side (it's nice to see those clubs can exist in harmony).
4-4-2 subscribes to all of the important soccer cable packages and they open early, so they have any game at any time.
Timbers games are when the place starts to feel like a real soccer bar. Get there early so you can get a good spot and celebrate with real soccer fanatics. Chances are you won't get a seat, but hugging the stranger to your right out of excitement when the Timbers score is how the game should be watched.
Spirit of 77
500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 232-9977
Everybody knows Spirit of 77 is the best bar to watch Blazers games. Everybody knows the painful feeling after they can't lift their arms from too much pop-a-shot the night before. Nobody wants to stop going there now that the Blazers' season is over. Good thing the Spirit of 77 will be playing Timbers games on the big screen all season!
118 NE 28th Ave., 235-2794
"This is the place to watch soccer, everyone else is just pretending," jokes Jimmy Lagen, co-owner of Beulahland and Arsenal supporter. "We have a nice mix of fans."
Jimmy has been showing Timbers games since 2005, and for the last five years has aired games whether people show up at the crack of dawn or not. Beulahland plays The English Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga, as well as MLS and all the Timbers games. Beuhlaland is a great place to break down the Xs and Os with all the other soccer geeks.
4237 North Mississippi Ave., 954-2674
Prost!, a German style pub in Portland's Mississippi district serves beer the way it was meant to served—in metric sizes. They have third- liter, half-liter, and full-liter sizes of imported German beers. And if you and your buddies want to share, they also have "the boot," a two liter glass boot 'o beer that tourists in Bavaria often attempt before ending up in the betrunken tank.
As for soccer, Prost! established itself as one of Portland's premiere places to watch games last summer when people flocked there for the World Cup. "We have games all day with an expanded (soccer) package with Comcast," says Prost! owner Dan Hart.
The Cheerful Bullpen
1730 SW Taylor St., 222-3063
The Cheerful Bullpen, formerly the Bullpen before Portland's most famous tortoise snatched it up, is on southwest Taylor right next to Jeld-Wen Field. If you are a hardcore Timbers supporter but can't get tickets the game, you can still drink-in the excitement right across from the stadium.
2239 SE 11th Ave., 236-3592
Not a soccer bar by trade, Blitz Ladds in southeast is still a great place to watch sports. They have 26 TVs and, if you ask nicely, they will change one of them to a game you might be looking for. Timbers games are what they live for this time of year, and they even have a free shuttle to Jeld-Wen for Timbers home games.
1735 West Burnside St., 224-1341
If you don't know much about soccer and want to watch a game without feeling like an asshole, go to Marathon. It's right across Burnside from Jeld-Wen and is one of Daveknows top four places to watch soccer—enough said. There are plenty of TVs and plenty of space, and if you really want to cause a ruckus after the game, Marathon is full of likeminded people.
71 SW 2nd Ave., 222-2155
One block south of Burnside on 2ndAavenue sits the Thirsty Lion. If you have been to this area on a weekend, you probably already know
what to expect. The Thirsty Lion has established itself as one of the best places to watch European, Mexican and MLS soccer. They even host official Timbers viewing parties for away games."€œWe are known as a soccer bar," says Brad Lee, general manager of the Thirsty Lion. "€œThe Champions League final is going to be huge for us."