World Cup In Houston: Where To Get Your Gamewatch On

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Two days from now, the world will tune in to Johannesburg, South Africa as the 2010 FIFA World Cup officially kicks off. The first match is a Group A clash between Mexico and South Africa. For all you futbol fanáticos, there are plenty of places to view all the matches around town.

When the first match begins, the place to be is downtown -- Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St.) to be exact. The Houston Dynamo will be holding viewing parties at the downtown park for every USA and Mexico match throughout the cup, as well as the semifinals and final game.

"The World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world and the Dynamo will host viewing parties to bring the city of Houston together to celebrate the sport of soccer," Dynamo senior vice-president Rocky Harris tells Hair Balls. "The viewing parties will unite such an international and diverse city like Houston and position us even further into the bid for hosting a World Cup in the near future."

One of the home-away-from-home places for a lot of Brits in Houston is Richmond Arms (5920 Richmond), and you better believe they'll be rocking. Manager Justin Wolf expects the next couple of weeks to be "crazy." So crazy, that they're providing shuttle rides from other lots on Richmond because their lot isn't big enough. "We're expecting absolutely monumental crowds," Wolf told Hair Balls

Don't expect to make a reservation either; Richmond Arms will be operating on a first-come, first-served basis. They expect the biggest crowds when England hits the pitch, but the grand daddy of them all will be this Saturday's 1:30 p.m. game between the US and England.

"That will be probably the biggest day this bar will ever do in terms of business," Wolf commented.

If you want a different cultural experience to international matches, you can't go wrong with following the Greeks. They do soccer differently, and they'll be cheering on the galanoleyki at Niko Niko's (2520 Montrose).  Restaurant manager Agustin Cardenas told Hair Balls that they plan on rolling out a new breakfast menu for the World Cup, which includes breakfast pitas, falafels, mini sandwiches, a variety of scones, and all the desserts. Heck, they're even going to have $2.25 beers and $3.95 Nikoritas, not a bad way to start the day.

When it comes to a true soccer party, no nationality does it better than the Brazilians. To enjoy the game with the fans of the most decorated team in international soccer, hit up Emporio Brazilian Café (12288 Westheimer). These guys do it right; there's singing, dancing and beautiful ladies. That's how you watch futebol.

Not to say there aren't more places to enjoy the World Cup. Marquees all over town claim to have the best World Cup viewing party in Houston. But try going outside the box this summer; try to experience the World Cup this year the way different cultures do. You'll have a better understanding why the World Cup is a global celebration, why the beautiful game is the most popular on Earth.

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