Are you ready for some football!? No, Hank Williams Jr., not that kind of football – I mean futbol, played on the highest level and on the ultimate global stage.
Indeed, the 2022 World Cup has kicked off, and all the way until Dec. 18, it's pretty much non-stop soccer action featuring the planet's best players battling it out for a historic honor in a one-of-a-kind World Cup. (If you're wondering "hey, isn't this normally a summer thing," you'd be correct; the mind-bogglingly high temperatures in Qatar forced the tournament to move to winter this year.) If you're a soccer fan, Christmas has come early – and if you're not a soccer fan, it's exactly the kind of vibrant celebration of sport that can make you one.
And as any soccer fan new or old knows, it's not just the on-field action that make the game, and particularly the World Cup, special – it's the gathering of fans coming together and becoming friends, the collective electricity in the air as everyone feels a goal coming on. And in that spirit, several Milwaukee bars – from classic Brew City footie favorites to all-around sports bars catching futbol fever – are celebrating the competition with viewing parties, bar specials, grand giveaways and the kind of ferocious fandom that only comes around once every four years.
Here are several Milwaukee venues to kick it for the World Cup:
3rd Street Market Hall
275 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 100, (414) 249-5062
It may be called 3rd Street Market Hall, but the bustling Downtown food hall will be a first-rate place to gather and watch the World Cup thanks to its new 15-foot HD projector screen as well as a number of specials and viewing parties for the big games. And games don't get much bigger than the U.S./Netherlands round of 16 match, for which the food hall will open at 8:30 a.m. complete with bloodies, bubbly, breakfast drinks, food specials and – of course – the huge game on the huge screen. As for the rest of the World Cup schedule, you'll be able to find all games kicking off on screen at the food hall. Oh, and of course, to help feed your fandom, few other sports bars celebrating the World Cup can compete with the variety of tasty eats available, including wings, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, tortas, hot dogs, ramen, sushi, arepas and more.
700 W. Lexington Blvd., (414) 236-7000
This German-style beer hall is perfect if you're cheering on the German soccer team at the World Cup – or at least it would be if Germany was still in the tournament. Thankfully, no matter who you're rooting for, with multiple TV screens showing the games, the Glendale hotspot's the place to be – especially for Saturday morning's big game between the U.S. and the Netherlands, complete with an early opening time at 8 a.m., a free first beer, free halftime buffet and half-off postgame liters from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. So might as well stay for the day's second match then too!
Brady Street bars
Jack's American Pub: 1323 E. Brady St., (414) 763-2830
Pete's Pub: 1234 E. Brady St., (414) 312-7457
Wurstbar: 1239 E. Brady St., (414) 763-2180
These three Brady Street bars created quite a hat-trick for the World Cup this year, teaming up for an awesome giveaway: a trip for two to Dublin. Each bar represents a different country's squad – Jack's is the U.S., Pete's Pub is England and Wurstbar is Germany – and each bar has a handful of number of drink specials. If you order a drink special at any of the three locales while a World Cup game is on, you get a raffle ticket – but if that bar's selected country is playing, you get two raffle tickets for the big trip drawing. And even if you don't score the Ireland vacation, you could still score a New Glarus trip, tour and stay or four Bucks tickets. I'd say those are better prizes than a dinky gold trophy. (OK, and international glory.)
Buckatabon Tavern & Supper Club
7700 Harwood Ave., (414) 271-7700
Mosey on over to this cozy Tosa Village hangout, which will open for the remaining World Cup matches. There, you'll be able to cheer on your teams while purchasing Duvel 6.66 beers for an autographed Kevin De Bruyne jersey raffle, receiving free coffee with breakfast and enjoying the tavern's signature tasty eats – including its World Cup special, the Breakky burger made with a single smash patty, American cheese, bacon, a fried egg and pesto aioli on a toasted brioche bun and steak fries on the side. Then, after the games are over, stay for supper – because you are at a supper club, after all.
346 N. Broadway, (414) 501-2500
This Third Ward favorite is known for its great rooftop view of the city – but it'll also offer a great view of the World Cup, cracking open as early as 8 a.m. on gamedays. And for the perfect assist, they'll serve free coffee with your breakfast for those early match wake-ups. Speaking of breakfast, Benelux will also offer a number of championship-level specials for the World Cup on its menu including its new Yellow Card Bloody Mary complete with sriracha and blue cheese-infused vodka; Shorty's omelette featuring eggs loaded with birria short ribs, caramelized onions, peppers, havarti cheese, and green chili crema alongside breakfast potatoes or frites; and new pulled pork sliders topped with jalapeño barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, cilantro and pickled carrot.
In case that wasn't enough, you too could come away a winner during the World Cup as the Lowlands Group locales will raffle away an autographed Kevin De Bruyne jersey. Every Duvel 6.66 beer purchased will enter you into the raffle, with the winner receiving the jersey plus a $100 gift card for Lowlands. Second place isn't too shabby either, scoring a special Duvel World Cup bundle along with a $50 gift card to Lowlands.
Several locations around SE Wisconsin
If you hear a lot of hooting and hollering on match days, it's probably coming from an excited crowd at Hollander. Sure, because of the thrilling World Cup action and because of the sweet autographed Kevin De Bruyne jersey raffle – but also because of the delicious food, including two specials for the soccer extravaganza. For breakfast and brunch, there's the Beefy Benny piling shredded slow-cooked beef, poached eggs and tomato on a toasted English muffin, all topped with hollandaise and green chili crema as well as served with breakfast potatoes. Then, to bring even more heat than the Qatar kickoff temperatures, there's the crispy chili chicken sandwich featuring fried chicken, red chili sauce, muenster cheese, cucumber salad and poblano buttermilk dressing all on a brioche bun. Add in free coffee with breakfast, and yeah, expect a lot of cheering – even from fans whose teams are down.
Centraal Grand Cafe & Tappery
2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 755-0378
Found on Bay View's main drag, Centraal would be a strong central hub for your World Cup watching needs. In addition to the Kevin De Bruyne jersey raffle and free coffee with breakfast, Centraal will serve up some scrumptuous specials – led by the bacon biscuit benedict, featuring a split jalapeño cheddar biscuit piled with bacon, poached eggs, chorizo butter, hollandaise sauce and green onions, complete with rosemary breakfast potatoes. I didn't know "chorizo butter" could exist – but I'm so happy that it does. That's a brunch/breakfast treat, but for other meals, there's also a new lamb burger topping a house beef and lamb blend patty with cucumber salsa, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. Let the feasting – on food and futbol – commence!
The Highbury Pub
2322 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 294-4400
This Bay View bar may look small from the outside, but it holds a huge soccer community. One of the iconic futbol bars in Milwaukee, The Highbury gets its name from Arsenal's former stomping grounds, but it's welcoming to fans of all teams and all levels of fandom – and expect that warm and cheerful atmosphere to continue into this oddly wintry World Cup run. With cold beers and drinks always available with a cozy vibe and cool people, The Highbury feels like home – and it will basically become a second home during these global games because fans can watch all the World Cup matches there. And I mean ALL the World Cup matches, because The Highbury has been opening bright and early for even the 4 a.m. bouts. (Pro tip, though: The bar won't serve alcohol until 6 a.m.) With exciting soccer on screen and fans ready to scream, though, no one will miss the sleep.
Milwaukee Brat House
4022 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 539-5826
As you'd expect from a place with bratwurst right in the name, Milwaukee Brat House is a terrific and tasty hang – and that'll continue to be the case during the World Cup, opening up early and serving up several drink specials at both Downtown and Shorewood locations during every World Cup game. And if that wasn't enough, for select games throughout the tournament, they'll have food specials – such as rivalry breakfast dishes for USA-England – and raffle prizes.
912 Milwaukee Ave., (414) 902-0148
As one of the most notable soccer bars in Brew City, of course Moran's Pub is going hard for the 2022 World Cup. The cozy authentic soccer hang even brought the global party all the way to Oak Creek for the Black Friday bout between the U.S. and England, spreading the good word of soccer. And as for those staying put at its South Milwaukee hub, the bar will show practically all of the matches throughout the tournament, along with selling sweet World Cup merch, pouring tasty brews (including the official beer of the Chicago Fire soccer team, Revolution Brewing's Hazy Pitch) and surrounded by tasty eats from neighboring restaurants. For Saturday's big round of 16 match, the doors will open at 7 a.m. – and feel free to bring a dish to pass around and feed your stomachs while the on-screen action feeds your fandom.
Nomad World Pub
1401 E. Brady St., (414) 224-8111
From massive street-blocking crowds to transfixing transformations and even opening a whole additional pop-up bar in Walker's Point, Nomad is the Golden Ball winner for World Cup craziness. So yes, they're ready for this year's edition, bringing back its festive Fanzone to show almost all of the games beginning Sunday, Nov. 20. The watch parties will come complete with drink specials, entertainment (for halftime and when a guy's faking an injury for a really long time), food and giveaways – including daily $500 travel vouchers and even a chance to see the women's World Cup in Sydney next year. On and off the pitch, Nomad's clearly a winning choice.
Red Lion Pub
1850 N. Water St., (414) 431-9009
This Water Street pub is mainly a Tottenham Hotspur hotspot – but one imagines this British-inspired hangout will be spurring Harry Kane and England to bring it home and win the World Cup over these next several weeks. No matter who you're rooting for, though, Red Lion Pub is an excellent soccer spot complete with several screens for all of the action (well, most of the action – understandably no insanely early games for them), a homey vibe and a menu of hearty authentic British favorites that'll fill up your stomach even more than the players on the pitch would fill up the back of the net if I was in goal.
750 N. Jefferson St., (414) 808-1588
Soccer may be coming Downtown in a few years – but in the meantime, we've got SportClub and its dedication to footie, showing almost all of the games throughout the global tournament on its many screens complete with brunch menus, a sporty atmosphere, tasty beverages and an optimal location in the heart of Brew City. And just like its sister soccer hotspot on Brady Street, SportClub will also be giving you a chance to see the world thanks to watching the World Cup as the sports bar will host daily $500 travel voucher giveaways for those who come in during the footie festivities.
Three Lions Pub
4515 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 763-6992
Three Lions Pub is always a four-star spot to take in a bit of footie – and indeed throughout the World Cup, they'll be showing matches at their cozy Shorewood confines. The Liverpool and Tottenham hotspot hosted a massive viewing party both inside and out for the Revolutionary War rematch on Black Friday between the USA and England – but even if they're no longer shutting down the block for matches (for now), Three Lions offers plenty of reason to watch footie there, from a solid beer list, tasty pub-style dishes, a plethora of TV screens and a truly dedicated soccer fandom. Join for the U.S./Netherlands game starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.