Unlike baseball or football, you don’t want to be at just a sports bar when it comes to the World Cup. You want to be at a soccer bar.
It’s a different atmosphere, a mingling of various cultures, accents with more boasting and national pride than even the Olympics. It’s a much more genuine, festive experience than your usual sports bar or chain, which tends to draw more of the fair-weather fans.
You won’t have trouble finding a seat for the early matchups. But for all U.S. games, England v. Italy and other big matches, come early if you want a spot.
Here are my 10 best places to catch the World Cup, which runs through July 13:
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One of the few soccer bars that will serve hot food at 8 a.m. on a weekday. The pub will have also have a 70-inch flat-screen out on its deck for big games and weekend matches. 6508 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle (206-729-6266 or theatlanticcrossing.com).
From the same folks behind the much-loved Francophile hangout Le Pichet, this French cafe on Capitol Hill serves the best food of all the soccer bars. 1117 12th Ave., Seattle (206-709-7674 or cafepresseseattle.com).
The World Cup kickoff party will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 12. It will likely be the busiest bar in the downtown area, especially for the evening and semifinal games. All 64 games will show live on its 11 HDTVs. 801 First Ave., Seattle (206-264-2700 or fadoirishpub.com).
One of the most famous soccer bars in the West Coast, this Fremont pub will be a zoo. There will be 10 TVs, including three on the deck. Come early. Your true soccer-fan experience here. 206 N. 36th St., Seattle (206-545-6864 or georgeanddragonpub.com).
A cheeseburger at 9 a.m.? Sure. This English pub in the South End will offer its entire menu, including dinner, for the early-morning games. 1314 Union Ave. N.E., Renton (425-271-3629 or pickledonionpub.com).
It’s a small, cozy German bar, where you can hear fans cheer from a block away. You don’t even wanna know how loud it gets when Germany scores. 7311 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle (206-706-5430 or prosttavern.net).
The line at this North Seattle bar can sometimes stretch around the corner. You can reserve a table ($10 per seat) for the big games if you don’t want to deal with the chaos. Thirteen TVs, including two giant projectors. 7406 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle (206-523-1193 or standrewsbarandgrill.com).
This Ballard spot boasts the best craft beers of any soccer bar in the city, maybe even the region. This is where all the bartenders watch soccer year round. 708 N.W. 65th St., Seattle (206-453-4527 or thedray.com).
From the same folks behind The George & Dragon Pub, this will be the most popular place to catch the games in Ballard, with six televisions stationed inside and one giant screen outside the bar. 2401 N.W. Market St., Seattle (206-789-0470 or themarketarms.com).
The hard-core soccer fans on the Eastside, especially those Microsoft visa techies, will hit the Seattle soccer bars. But if you don’t want to cross the bridge, this Irish pub, with its HD projector, will draw big crowds during the semifinals and other big games. If anything, it’s a great excuse to order its great lamb burger and what might be the best shepherd’s pie in Western Washington. 111 Central Way, Kirkland (425-822-8940 or wilderover.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle