Summer is in full swing, and that means soccer tournaments are hitting an apex.
After Brazil played Argentina on Saturday, June 10, for the Copa América Final, England will take on Italy in the Euro 2020 Final, which is happening a year later than expected because of COVID: at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11.
While the matches will be taking place in the faraway locales of Rio de Janeiro and London, soccer fans in Denver have options if they want to watch the game with fellow fans.
Here are our top choices:
Maria Empanada is a gathering place for Argentina soccer fans.
Courtesy of Maria Empanada
1298 South Broadway
"With the big games, especially the ones involving Argentina, this space gets crazy. So it will be so much fun," says Victor Arango of Maria Empanada, an Argentinian cafe located on South Broadway with a couple of other locations in metro Denver. Maria Empanada's owner, Lorena Cantarovici, hails from Argentina, a South American nation that lives and dies by how its national team performs in tournaments.
Arango expects the venue to be packed by the time the Argentina-Brazil game starts at 6 p.m. July 10 and recommends that fans, preferably ones wearing Messi or Maradona Argentina jerseys, claim their spots by 5 p.m.
Maria Empanada will also be showing the Euro Final on June 11. But really, it's all about the Copa América Final, as this restaurant is the Denver "headquarters for Latin American soccer," Arango says.
Raíces Brewing Co.
Raíces Brewing Co. should be popping off for the Argentina-Brazil game.
Courtesy of Raíces Brewing
2060 West Colfax Avenue
Not so fast, Maria Empanada. Raíces Brewing Co., located just off West Colfax Avenue next to the South Platte River, also fancies itself a haven for Latin American soccer fans in Denver.
"The game, we’ll have it on multiple screens. We have some big screens. Great audio and sound. It’s going to be pretty badass," says Jose Beteta, a co-owner of Raíces, which has some of the most delicious beers in town.
And on June 10, the day of the Copa América Final, Raíces will be hosting a Viva Argentina celebration, which will feature lots of Argentinian food and performances. "It coincided, actually, and it just kind of ended up being like that," says Beteta.
Aside from showing the Copa América Final on June 10 and the Euro Final on June 11, Raíces will also stream the Gold Cup match between Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago taking place at 8 p.m., June 10, just after the Copa América Final wraps up.
The Abbey Tavern
The Abbey Tavern is the official Denver bar for Liverpool FC fans.
5151 East Colfax Avenue
The official Denver bar of Liverpool FC, the Abbey Tavern on East Colfax Avenue expects to be packed for the England-Italy game on Sunday, June 11.
"We’ll be open by 11 a.m. and we expect to be full by noon," says Glen Eastwood, the Irish owner of the Abbey Tavern, who happens to be a diehard Liverpool fan himself.
Eastwood notes that his bar was packed during the semifinal matchup between England and Denmark, so the Guinness pints will certainly be flowing this time around.
"We’re a small bar and it’s only now that we can have a crowd in again since COVID, and we are definitely going to take advantage of that," Eastwood says.
Fans of both Italy and England and everything in between are all welcome. With Ireland not in the tournament this time around, Eastwood will be hoping that Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, a midfielder for England, does well. But he's got no real dog in the fight.
"I think it's going to be a close game. I can watch this with zero stress," Eastwood says.
The British Bulldog should be a raucous affair for the Euro Final.
The British Bulldog
2052 Stout Street
While there may be a bit more neutrality over at the Abbey Tavern, the same can't be said for the British Bulldog, an English pub located at Broadway and Stout Street.
"It’s been absolutely crazy here for all of the England games," says Sam Alexandria, general manager of the British Bulldog. "If you’re an Italy fan, it's maybe not the best environment for you."
In the past, the Bulldog, which offers Pakistani cuisine along with some more traditional pub fare, has been able to close off the street outside the bar to have a big old shebang for major soccer games. The bar isn't able to do that for the Euro Final; however, it still will extend its reach outside the confines of the indoor bar.
"We’re going to have our outdoor patio TVs and audio going on. We’re going to have a bartender out there," Alexandria says.
England fans ought to start arriving a few hours before the game to stake out a table. "We’re going to open our doors at ten," he notes. "We don’t want to open too early because if people start hitting it heavy super early, people are going to be wasted by game time."
Celtic on Market
The Celtic offers soccer fans a chance to get an authentic sports betting experience.
1400 Market Street
Soccer fans more focused on making a buck off the Copa América and Euro finals than simply cheering their favorites should head over to the Celtic on Market. The Celtic, which is a certified off-track horse and dog racing betting facility, has an in-person FanDuel counter where bettors can deposit money into and withdraw money from their FanDuel accounts.
"It's the closest thing to a sportsbook," says Noel Hickey, the Celtic owner who's originally from Galway, Ireland.
Even so, the Celtic, an Irish pub, is a soccer bar through and through. Plenty of local fan groups call the bar home, most notably the Denver Gooners, the local fan club for Arsenal FC.
And the early afternoon could be just the right time for Arsenal fans to drown their sorrows in shots of whiskey and take their focus off of their perennially underperforming team, as they watch the world's best duke it out in the finals of the two major tourneys.
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