San Francisco

The Best Spots to Watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 in San Francisco

SF Rec and Park
SF Rec and Park
SF Rec and Park

Abbey Tavern

Inner RichmondBest for: Fans who definitely don’t like England
While you’ll find fans of Spain, Mexico, and Germany at this Inner Richmond pub, there’s definitely one team you can be assured they will not be supporting. “I would say there’ll be a lot of rooting against England,” says a rep at Abbey Tavern, now that Ireland is out of the running. The bar is planning to do a $5 Moscow Mule special, because Russia. And even though they don’t normally serve food, they’ll have some finger food spreads for the biggest game days. And while they don’t plan to open up for the 5am matches, the Abbey will be open for 100% of the 7am, 8am and later games.

Aces

TenderloinBest for: Beer-shot combos and surly regulars
Yes, this is a Yankees bar where ex-New Yorkers gather to watch the NY Giants and New York Jets during football season. But this Tenderloin watering hole likes some soccer too, and given that it’s one of the few bars in town that opens at 6am daily, this will be a reliable spot to catch some of the earlier games live. Just be forewarned this place has a lot of loyal regulars and one surly bartender in particular who generally covers the early morning shift. They offer a daily “BJ” special which is a Bud Light and a shot of Jameson for $4. And if you call ahead you can reserve the round “poker table” booth for you and your friends.

Barrel Proof Bar & Restaurant
Barrel Proof Bar & Restaurant
Barrel Proof Bar & Restaurant

Barrel Proof

MissionBest for: Cheap beers, good food, and a side of soccer
This handsome new Mission spot with 30 flat-screen TVs has only been open three months (in the former Cease & Desist space) but they plan to cater to the soccer fan base in the ‘hood as much as they can — though don’t expect them to open much before 11am until the second or third round, depending on demand. Mondays feature $5 cocktails, drafts, and food and $3 bottles and cans. There’s a special World Cup menu and some other drink specials in the works, but those aren’t finalized so check Facebook for upcoming details. Also, there are barrel-aged cocktails ($16), and the food menu is pretty impressive for a sports bar, with a great chicken karaage sando, and a tuna and rice poke bowl.

Blackthorn Pub
Blackthorn Pub
Blackthorn Pub

Blackthorn Pub

Inner SunsetBest for: Those who don’t really like the whole “soccer bar” thing
Barrel Proof’s sister pub in the Inner Sunset has a great setup for sports fans with ample seating and 20 TVs, but because this isn’t really known as a soccer bar, this won’t be a go-to for the early-round, early-morning matches. That said, Blackthorn offers some great barrel-aged cocktails ($12) and boasts a nice whiskey selection, and while they don’t serve food, they welcome you to have food delivered with a book of delivery menus up at the front of the bar. They expect to be busy for the semi-final and final matches, but based on the showing during the 2014 World Cup, they’re sticking to regular hours (i.e. opening at 10am on weekends).

The Chieftain

SoMaBest for: Irish food, tacos, and a good crowd
Workers in SoMa can duck out of the office to catch matches at The Chieftain, where they’ll be airing most of the 11am games live (and opening at 10:45). In addition, they’ll open up for the 9am Peru vs Denmark game on June 16, and at 8am on June 17 for Germany vs. Mexico. There are daily food and drink specials and plenty of hearty Irish fare here, as well as al pastor tacos every Tuesday for $11.

SF Rec and Park
SF Rec and Park
SF Rec and Park

City Hall Plaza

Civic CenterBest for: Family-friendly fun outdoors
As they have for past World Cups in 2010 and 2014, the San Francisco Rec and Parks Department sets up a big screen in the plaza outside City Hall for free family viewing of the biggest, later-round matches. So far they have not posted the schedule of games they’ll be screening, so check the calendar here for updates.

Danny Coyle's
Danny Coyle’s
Danny Coyle’s

Danny Coyle’s

Lower HaightBest for: Getting rowdy with fans of Germany, England, and Ireland
This Irish sports bar in the Lower Haight — part of the triumvirate that includes Mad Dog in the Fog and Nickie’s — can always be counted on to follow soccer, and they say they plan to air each and every game no matter the hour. Judging by crowds that gathered here during the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, Danny Coyle’s will most definitely be a magnet for fans. Despite this being an Irish bar, there’s a big contingent of England fans (they regularly show English Premier League games here), as well as a contingent of Germany fans as well. And there will be drink specials throughout the rounds, TBD.

El Farolito Bar

MissionBest for: Burritos and Mexican beers
The Mission is going to be on fire with soccer fever as soon as the World Cup starts, but a nexus of Mexican fandom will be El Farolito’s next-door bar, which always opens at 10am but you can bet they’ll be open at 8am when Mexico plays their first match against Germany on Sunday, June 17, and again at 8am on Saturday, June 23 when they play South Korea. Bottled Mexican beers will run you $5 on average, but the built-in bonus here is being able to order up burritos from the taqueria, via the bartender, and have them brought over to you without taking a break from drinking/soccer watching.

The Dubliner Noe Valley
The Dubliner Noe Valley
The Dubliner Noe Valley

The Dubliner

Noe ValleyBest for: Grabbing a Guinness with the older crowd
Noe Valley soccer fans won’t have to travel further than The Dubliner to watch most of the matches, though the bar doesn’t plan to open before 11am — except on Sunday, when they regularly open at 10am It’s also the best place in the neighborhood for a properly poured Guinness. There are daily $5 drink specials here, but don’t expect too much of a young crowd — this place tends to skew a bit older, and is the local pub for many longtime Noe denizens.

Giordano Bros.

MissionBest for: Brazil fans and good sandwiches
“We had some of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had during the last one,” says a manager at Giordano Bros.’ Mission outpost, which was then just newly open in 2014. Interestingly, this Pittsburgh-centric spot was a magnet for Brazil fans, and that may prove true again, but as a dedicated sports bar, you can bet you’ll find fans of many teams congregating here. Also, they make a mean sandwich, and it comes stuffed with French fries. Drink specials are still TBD, but the bar will be opening early for a lot of the matches, though probably not the earliest ones that kick off before 8am Definitely expect this place to be packed with fans for the later rounds and final matches.

The Irish Bank
The Irish Bank
The Irish Bank

The Irish Bank

Financial DistrictBest for: Grabbing an Irish breakfast
Down in the Financial District you can catch all the 11am and later matches at The Irish Bank, with the exact schedule of games still to be posted on their website. The place is inviting and cozy, with a full food menu including a proper Irish breakfast, and some solid fish and chips.

Curiously, this place has been a draw for fans of Uruguay and Brazil in past years, so look for those contingents to gather for those countries’ matches. The Irish Bank also will consider opening early for the later round matches, depending on interest.

Final Final

Cow HollowBest for: Morning beers and early games
This locals-only spot in the Marina is a go-to for all sports seasons, and World Cup season is no exception. With 11 flat screens and a spacious U-shaped bar, as well as draft cocktails, food, and 24 beers on tap, Final Final will have your soccer-watching needs met. The bar plans to open for all of the 7am and 8am games, and there’s always free popcorn available. But the fans here tend to skew younger, i.e. mid 20s.

Hi Tops
Hi Tops
Hi Tops

Hi Tops

CastroBest for: Food and fun in an LGBTQ-friendly space
LGBTQ sports fans already know to head to Hi Tops to watch big games in a friendly space. And while the bar doesn’t plan to open earlier than usual (11:30am) for any of the games, they will be showing as many rebroadcasts and live games as possible. The bar boasts 20 HDTVs and ample seating, especially for the die-hard fans who’ll be showing up early. It’s a gay bar but everyone is welcome, and the place has an acclaimed bar food menu that includes brunch items like a breakfast burrito, and an excellent fried chicken sandwich.

The Kezar Pub

Upper HaightBest for: Beer and wings for breakfast
“Opening at 4am for soccer matches is nothing new for us,” says a manager at The Kezar Pub in the Upper Haight. “We can start serving drinks at 7am.” Also, there’s a full menu of bar food, and who doesn’t love Buffalo wings for breakfast? The passionate soccer fans here don’t all necessarily root for the same teams, but this will be a prime spot to head for games with the earliest start times like France vs Australia on Saturday, June 16, and Colombia vs Japan on Tuesday, June 19. Check the Facebook page for updates on TBA beer and drink specials.

Mad Dog in the Fog
Mad Dog in the Fog
Mad Dog in the Fog

The Mad Dog in the Fog

Lower HaightBest for: Taking a break from the games in the beer garden
This dedicated soccer-centric bar in the Lower Haight will, as they always have, open for each and every game no matter the hour. The place boasts 16 TVs and some good Buffalo wings, as well as a semi-secret beer garden out back if you need some air. Serious fans of English teams congregate here on the regular, so you can guess that England’s matches will be well attended here. But Barcelona fans also know this place, as do soccer fans generally, so expect a mixed back and lots of screaming “Goooool!”

Minas Brazilian

Hayes ValleyBest for: A delicious caipirinha and Brazilian food
Brazil fans are going to be scattered throughout the city — and there is a pretty large contingent of Brazilians residing in SF, in case you weren’t aware. But you can bet, as during previous World Cups, there will be some enthusiastic soccer fans gathering at this little Brazilian spot on Franklin off of Market. In addition to some authentic Brazilian food, the bar here has probably the biggest collection of cachacas in the city, and the caipirinhas can’t be beat.

The Napper Tandy
The Napper Tandy
The Napper Tandy

The Napper Tandy

MissionBest for: Two-for-one margs and burgers
Opening times may vary at this 24th Street Irish pub, but likely the Napper Tandy will be open by 8am for most of the game days — and this was a popular spot for World Cup viewing back in 2014 (for rooting against England, naturally). Wednesdays feature $4 beers, and Thursdays offer two-for-one margaritas, and every day there’s a food menu featuring some great tater tot nachos, corned beef quesadillas, and solid burgers — also don’t miss the pork belly Benedict on the weekends.

SF Mix
SF Mix
SF Mix

The Mix

CastroBest for: Unbeatable drink specials
For gay soccer fans who A) smoke cigarettes, or B) want to catch the earliest games live, The Mix will be the place to go in the Castro. This all-inclusive bar with a very diverse crowd has multiple screens both at the inside bar and on the outside smoking patio, and they open at 7am on weekdays and 6am on the weekends, with or without a World Cup going on. They plan to show as many of the matches as possible, and for the games that kick off at later in the morning, you can take advantage of happy hour starting at noon every day. Drink specials include $2 domestic drafts on Mondays, $3 for any beer on Wednesdays as well s $5.50 Hangar 1 cocktails, and $2.50 Tecates and $5 Tito’s cocktails all day Thursday.

The Pig and Whistle Bar

Inner RichmondBest for: Getting a proper Guinness
This is a bar where they’ll be rooting for England, but as a bartender tells Thrillist, “We get people of all nationalities in here. For the last World Cup we had a lot of Portuguese and Spanish fans for some reason.” Specific drink specials for the World Cup are still TBD, but they do boast that they “pour one of the best Guinness’ in San Francisco,” always with a proper head, and in a 20-ounce glass.

Schroeders SF
Schroeders SF
Schroeders SF

Schroeder’s

Financial DistrictBest for: Finding a seat and watching Germany play
For an authentic German beer hall experience, wherein Germany fans can watch their team score, look no further than Schroeder’s down in the Financial District. With a cavernous space and plenty of seating, you likely won’t feel too hemmed in here, but be warned that since this isn’t typically a sports bar, there are only a couple of TV screens up front. The bar plans to show every match that Germany is playing, even the early ones — and there will be breakfast served for all the morning matches. Drink specials are TBD.

San Francisco Athletic Club

Western AdditionBest for: Finding a TV to play whatever game you’re looking for
Divisadero’s San Francisco Athletic Club first opened its doors at the opening of the 2014 World Cup, and since then they’ve become one of the top spots in town for watching Giants, Warriors, and 49ers games, and everything else you can think of including plenty of soccer. This place has 28 flat screens including two 80-inchers, and they’ll likely all be tuned to the World Cup once it starts. They’ll be opening for most or all of the games that kick off at 5am, and this is a place that attracts a lot of different fan bases — but there’s a big Colombian contingent that comes here, so this place could be the prime spot to catch Colombia’s matches against Japan (June 19 at 5am), Poland (June 24 at 11am) and Senegal (June 28 at 7am). They also serve breakfast on weekends, and bar bites always.

Tempest
Tempest
Tempest

Tempest Bar

SoMaBest for: The casual watcher who enjoys a great burger
This bustling SoMa dive is a go-to spot for Giants watching, but they’ll be airing as many World Cup games post-11am as they can, for soccer fans in the ‘hood. They won’t, however, be opening any earlier than that. Drinks are pretty cheap here in general, especially for SoMa, and the place has an attached food window called The Box that makes an excellent burger, which you can bring into the bar to eat.Find out where to watch the World Cup games with all the soccer fans in your city with our list of the best World Cup bars in NYC, LA, Chicago, DC, Miami, Houston and more.Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.

Jay Barmann is a Thrillist contributor.

San Francisco

How to Celebrate Black History Month in San Francisco

Support and celebrate SF's Black community.

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Though it’s something we need to be doing every day of every month of every year, Black History Month encourages us to pay tribute to the struggles and oppression generations of Black Americans have faced, as well as their often-neglected triumphs and achievements that have helped shape this county and make it better. It’s a time to reflect on how we can do better to confront racism and oppression, which this year’s theme, “Black Resistance,” echoes. This is especially important in a town like San Francisco, where the Fillmore District was known as “the Harlem of the West” before the city displaced a vast portion of the neighbourhood’s Black community in the ’60s and ’70s. This displacement continues today, as the Black population is the only racial group that has declined in every census since 1970.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are lots to do. Whether you want to educate yourself by attending films, performances, or conversations, share the joy at a parade or dance party, or do a little bit of it all at a drag show, here are just a few ways you can get involved and have a lot of fun while doing so:

Visit San Francisco Public Library branches for workshops, films, performances, and more

February (and throughout the year)
Library branches and online
SFPL’s “More Than a Month” celebration focuses on the theme of resistance this year. Family-friendly and adult events include film screenings, musical performances, book clubs, workshops, and more.
Cost: Free

Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora

See art, poetry, films, talks, and more at MoAD

February (and throughout the year)
SoMa
Right now, at the Museum of African Diaspora, you can see the first and only West Coast exhibition of “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” which highlights the work of 15 contemporary fashion designers “whose images present radically new perspectives on the medium of photography and art, race and beauty, and gender and power.” The museum, which has a robust year-round program and event calendar, has a slew of events to attend, including youth poetry readings, film screenings, open mic nights, book clubs, artist talks, and more.
Cost: Event prices vary; GA to visit the museum is $12 but free every second Saturday of the month

Check out films, art, reading, talks, and more at BAMPFA

February (and throughout the year)
Berkeley
There is always something interesting to discover at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). During Black History Month, you can see films by Pratibha Parmar, “Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa,” a conversation through music with the Senegalese writer, scholar, composer, musician, and more.
Cost: Varies

Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe

Enjoy menu specials honoring Black community members at Old Skool Cafe

February (and throughout the year)
Bayview
For Black History Month, Old Skool Cafe is adding the favourite meals of notable Black community members to the menu each weekend. The nonprofit, youth-run supper club helps at-risk, formerly incarcerated, and foster care youth ages 16-22 gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in various front and back-of-house restaurant roles. Bayview hero/community advocate Mrs. Dorris Vincent is first up, followed by Judge Trina Thompson, Delroy Lindo, and Mayor London Breed.

Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens

Walk beneath the Marting Luther King, Jr. Memorial waterfall

February (and ongoing)
Yerba Buena Gardens
Did you know that Yerba Buena Gardens is home to the country’s second-largest memorial to Dr. King? Visit the sculptural waterfall featuring glass panels inscribed with his inspiring words at 750 Howard Street.
Cost: Free

Attend the Commonwealth’s “Dreaming Forward: A Celebration of Black Joy, Power, and Excellence” conference

Thursday, February 9
Embarcadero
On behalf of Dr. Sheryl Evans Davis and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Club is hosting its second annual Dream Keeper Initiative, a day-long conference/celebration/call-to-action featuring special guests, including April Ryan of TheGrio and CNN.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays

Celebrate Black Love at Oakland First Fridays

Friday, February 10
Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street
Telegraph Avenue transforms into a dining, shopping, and art-appreciating party on Friday, February 10, from 5 pm to 9 pm. There will be food, artist, and retail vendors and a host of Black artists, authors, and entertainment. Please note: This event was rescheduled from February 3 because of potential rain.
Cost: Free

Have a ball at an all-Black drag show at Oasis

Friday, February 10
SoMa
“Reparations with Latrice Royale” is an all-Black drag show hosted by Latrice Royale, the beloved Drag Race star who also happens to be celebrating her birthday.
Cost: $15 to $60

Dance all night and shop all day at the Afro Soca Love carnival and marketplace

Friday, February 10 ‚Äď Saturday, February 11
341 13th Street, Oakland
Afro Soca Love creates experiences that act as a “gateway to building bonds and strengthen relationships-between communities, individuals, and Africa and its diaspora.” See for yourself at the all-ages marketplace (Saturday), where you’ll find food and drink, fashion, beauty and wellness, home decor, and more. But before the shopping comes the dancing at the 21+ Friday Night Carnival, a culturally immersive music experience with music from all over the world.
Cost: The marketplace is free; tickets to the Friday Night Carnival start at $20

See a live performance of “Words That Made the Difference: Brown vs. the Board of Education”

Saturday, February 11
Unity Palo Alto
See a live theatrical performance based on the true events that occurred in the fight to end school segregation. The script draws from trial transcripts of the five cases brought together in front of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s memoirs, and the play is set in the courtrooms where it all happened. There will be a Q&A with the playwright before the performance and the cast afterward.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company

Go to the I, Too, Sing America album release party

Saturday, February 11
Mission
Head to the Brava Theater Center to celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company’s album release of the music created for I, Too, Sing America, a soulful and uplifting performance that moved audiences when it debuted last year. The night includes an album-listening and sing-along party, DJs, dancing, an open bar, and more.
Cost: $40

Go on the Black Liberation Walking Tour of West Oakland

Saturday, February 18
West Oakland
Take a walk with David Peters, founder of the West Oakland Cultural Action Network, and Gene Anderson, the author of Legendary Locals of Oakland, to learn about resident voices and document sites of cultural and historical significance in the neighbourhood. Peters is a local native, and Anderson is an Oakland historian whose family has historical roots in West Oakland.
Cost: $50 ($30 for West Oakland residents)

See a screening of The Black Kung Fu Experience followed by in-person demonstrations

Sunday, February 19
Great Star Theater, Chinatown
The Chinese Historical Society of America is celebrating Black History Month and social unity with a screening of this film about how a group of African American pioneers became respected in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Afterward, there will be demonstrations and talks with Sifu Donald Hamby and Sifu Troy Dunwood, who “will speak about their success as internationally recognized martial arts masters, their Chinese Kung Fu teachers, and what this practice means in relation to diversity, race and inclusion issues.”
Cost: $15

Sip wine made by Black winemakers at a free tasting event at STEM Kitchen + Garden

Thursday, February 23
Dogpatch
STEM Kitchen + Garden is hosting an afternoon wine tasting celebrating Black-owned wineries in its gorgeous indoor/outdoor space, and best of all, and it’s free to the public!
Cost: Free

Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House

Attend the San Francisco African American Arts & Cultural District Gala Fundraiser

Saturday, February 25
Bayview Opera House
Enjoy an evening of talent, fashion, and community inspiration at SFAAACD’s 1st Annual Gala Fundraiser. Carla Duke, Television News Director at CBS-KPIX Chanel 5, will host the event, which includes inspiring words from keynote speaker Aniyia Williams, an artist, tech creator, and system-preneur.
Cost: $100

Attend a Black History Month & Chinese New Year Poetry Reading on Angel Island

Saturday, February 25
Angel Island
There is so much history in poetry at the Angel Island Detention Barracks Museum, which makes it a fitting location for poets Chun Yu and Michael Warr. The co-founders of Two Languages/One Community will share their poems and stories in English and Chinese, accompanied by projected images of text and photographs.
Cost: $10 to $21

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Feel the joy at the Black Joy Parade

Sunday, February 26
Downtown Oakland
This parade and festival celebrate the “Black experience past, present, and future.” Be prepared to experience “more Black joy than you ever imagined,” starting with the parade (beginning at 14th and Franklin) at 12:30 pm. The family-friendly festival follows (main entrance is at 19th and Franklin) will include 200-plus Black-owned small businesses selling food, drinks, clothing, art, and more. There will also be two stages with Black performers, including The Black Joy Choir.
Cost: Free

Take a sound bath at Grace Cathedral in honor of Black History Month

Monday, February 27
Nob Hill
Take an immersive sound bath featuring Fractals of Sound, a collective of top Bay Area musicians Egemen Sanli, Phoenix Song, and Sam Jackson, with special guest Destiny Muhammad. Together, they will create a “soundscape deeply rooted in world music,” allowing you to take a meditative journey in one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.
Cost: $25 to $75

See Tsitsi Dangarembga and Angela Davis at City Arts & Lectures

Tuesday, February 28
Civic Center
Co-presented with MoAd, City Arts & Lectures is hosting novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and scholar and activist Angela Davis for what’s sure to be a riveting conversation.
Cost: $36

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Daisy Barringer¬†is an SF-based freelance writer who spent many childhood days wandering around the Exploratorium. Follow her on¬†Instagram¬†to see what she’s up to now.

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