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Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Soccer 2010: few TV watching chances in Oakland, CA


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For all of its claims to be moving ahead as a city, Oakland, California is still light years behind it's neighbor, San Francisco, and other cities like Atlanta and Seattle in World Cup Soccer viewing opportunities.

If you don't have a television or happen to live with roommates who don't care about World Cup Soccer 2010 (boring people they must be), you're almost out of luck in Oakland.

There are only eight establishments showing World Cup Soccer, and spread out between North Oakland and the Claremont District of the Central Oakland Hills. The one I most recommend is Barclay's at 5940 College Avenue.

Why this blog post? I just got this email:

Hi there,

I just came across your video shot right after the game on Friday, and I noticed you were in Oakland. I'm originally from Germany (another lucky team that day...), and none of my roommates give a damn about the World Cup, so I was hoping you could point me in the right direction, as to where in Oakland one can watch the games, both, USA and Germany, that early in the morning.

Thanks,
Name not published


Oh if you're wondering what game, this game's outcome:



San Francisco has scores of World Cup Soccer viewing places

San Francisco's unique brand of urban party town is such that you can see The World Cup matches at cafes like The Steps of Rome in North Beach, or bars like Kesar on the corner of Cole and Stanyan. Why, the City and County of San Francisco even had a live broadcast of the France v. Mexico match in the middle of City Hall Plaza on Friday!

Seattle is mad for World Cup Soccer

Seattle, a city that has a professional soccer team, is teaming with places to watch World Cup Soccer. So many that Seattle Weekly has a directory of them. From The George and Dragon Pub to Azzurri and scores of other establishments, you can't miss a chance to watch World Cup Soccer with others in Seattle.

Atlanta has events around World Cup Scocer

The Atlanta International Soccer Fest, a giant contest featuring 20 teams representing international organizations based in Atlanta, was timed with the start of World Cup Soccer. And bars from downtown to Buckhead have World Cup Soccer viewing parties and special times.

Oakland must wake up to The World Cup

What does Oakland have? Well, a lot less. I have a television set and a good one, but it's fun to watch the World Cup with others. My good friends invited me to watch the epic USA v. Slovenia match in San Francisco at The Steps of Rome, but as I needed a day close to home, I elected to stay in Oakland.

Then I got the urge to go out and see it, really to capture how others were reacting to it on video, only to learn the hard way that in Adams Point, no bar or cafe had World Cup Soccer. The one place I'd expect to have a morning game, the bar Smitty's at 3331 Grand Avenue, had some guy watching it for himself behind a looked screen door and saying to me "we're closed." I didn't want to drive all the way over to Rockridge because there wasn't enough time left in the game.

So I went to the gym, Gold's Gym, to watch it. But by then it was over. No talk. No anger expressed by patrons other than me. Nothing.

Meanwhile, my friends in San Francisco were calling and texting me about the World Cup Soccer game.

For a city that tried to bid to host the World Cup, you'd think it would be easy to find places showing it in Oakland. It's not so easy but as I wrote, there are eight places showing the World Cup matches on a regular basis in Oakland.

The first place you should go is Barclay's at 5940 College Avenue in Oakland's Rockridge District and just up the street from Rockridge BART, as they have a great soccer crowd. Their website reports they will be open for all games at 6:30 AM.

Oakland North's Jill Replogle wrote a great, if not widely seen, article on this subject, and unearthed a few more Oakland places showing the World Cup games, but not all on a regular basis (she recommends you call first). They are:

Commonwealth Café and Public House at 28th and Telegraph Ave
Oasis Food Market on 30th and Telegraph
Kerry House on Piedmont near 41st
Dareye Hide A Way Ethiopian Restaurant: 6430 Telegraph Ave.
The Grand Tavern: 3601 Grand Ave (way up the street from Smitty's)
Luka’s Taproom & Lounge: 2221 Broadway
McNally Irish Pub: 5352 College Ave.
La Calaca Loca: 5199 Telegraph Ave.

But that's still a small number compared to the places in Oakland that should be showing the game. First, as much as I love the place, it's a total shame The Lake Chalet doesn't have a television set, and two TVs hanging iconically near the two ends of that long bar, to watch the World Cup matches would be perfect to draw crowds. Crogan's in Montclair should be showing all the World Cup matches. The Oakland Marriott downtown should have viewing parties. Max's City Center should open early for the games. Pican just next to Luka's has great TV sets and should show all of the World Cup matches.

Come on Oakland! Get with it! I don't care that you don't want to be known as a sports bar, and such concerns are for neurotics anyway. The World Cup is once every four years! Mayor Ron Dellums should get his head out of where ever it is and open Oakland's City Hall Plaza for a World Cup viewing party.

This is awful. This town needs an enema, and fast before The World Cup is over!

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