The old “Little Italy” of Vancouver is already buzzing. Many of the local cafes are open from 4:30 AM onwards so you can watch the games live with other die-hard soccer fanatics. With that in mind, we at the Gumboot thought we’d sketch out a few great spots to consider checking out at game time. No matter who’s playing you can’t beat the atmosphere. And as it gets closer and closer to the final in July, expect the hype (and the crowds) to grow exponentially. Four years ago during the last World Cup, the crowds were so think that they had to block off the street. Hundreds of fans jammed tiny cafes, bars and restaurants to cheer on the team to victory. The scene of celebration rivaled this year’s Olympic celebrations (well, not quite – but you get the idea).
Interesting spots to consider checking our include the following:
La Rocca Restaurant - 1565 Commercial Drive – Great spot with big screens, all sorts of Italian Fellas located in the heart of the drive. Normally this is a sports bar/restaurant anyway so when World Cup time comes around these guys really hit their stride. You can also purchase all the World Cup kitch you desire – and some tasty spaghetti and meatballs too!
The Portuguese Club – 1144 Commercial Drive – Big screens and a lot of Portuguese people. If Ronaldo does what the entire small nation is dreaming he’ll do, this place could be the Grand Central Station of Portugal’s victory celebration. Regardless check them out. You can’t find more reasonably priced (and delicious mussels, clams and chorizo). To die for.
Pane Vero – 952 Commercial Drive – One big screen and a great patio. This place fits the bill if your looking for somewhere to get a morning cup of coffee or one of their delicious breakfast sandwiches. Their owner Claudio is good people. Though its a ways down the drive from the majority of Italian cafes, its well worth a stop!
Abruzzo Cappuccino Bar – 1321 Commercial Drive – If you want a really hardcore experience this is the place to go. These guys don’t even have a website because, I guess, they figure as “soccer central for the Drive” they don’t need one. This is a place where 7 days a week there’s soccer on the screen. Premier League, Euro-cup, you name it. It’s on and there’s a gaggle of older Italians sauntering about sipping their cappuccinos and looking almost too mobbed up for comfort.
If you’ve got any other great suggestions please toss them in the comments section! Happy World Cup and we’ll see you on the Drive!