With the FIFA 2010 World Cup fast approaching people all around the globe will be heading to watering holes all around the world to catch some of the action of the most popular sporting event of all time. If you’ll be in San Diego while the tournament is going on, there are two places that you’ll want to catch the action for a great atmosphere and a good time: The Shakespeare Pub amp; Grill and Phileas Foggs Bar amp; Restaurant.
The Shakespeare Pub amp; Grill is my top recommendation. Located in Little Italy (3701 India St. San Diego, CA 92103) It is a traditional styled English pub that is often frequented by fans of the English Premier League on a weekly basis, where they watch the best teams in England fight for the title. Among the crowd there, you’ll be see people who are very knowledgeable about their soccer and if you’re new to the sport, you’ll be able to find someone to explain all the nuances to you.
It’s got a charming English pub feel to it. You’ll see the wooden tables and chairs and to an extent the interior resembles a quaint English cottage. On the menu you’ll find some English pub meals, things like Shepherd’s Pie, Steak and Mushroom Pie, and Fish and Chips-you’ll also find American favorites like hamburgers. I highly recommend the fish and chips. There’s also a wide selection of beers.
For the World Cup, the Shakespeare will be showing every single match. There will be a $10 cover charge added to your tab, but I highly recommend it. The atmosphere at The Shakespeare during a sporting event is top notch-arguably the best at a San Diego bar. Their hours are Mon-Thu 11:00am-12:00am; Fri 11:00am-1:00am, Sat 7:00am-1:00am, Sun 8:00am-12:00am. For the games earlier than the open hours, the pub will be open. The matches will be shown on their Hi-Definition TVs located in every corner of the pub.
If you’re in North County San Diego, you might want to consider Phileas Fogg’s Bar and Restaurant, located half a mile east of the I-15 (11386 Poway Road, #100 San Diego, CA). Like Shakespeare’s Pub and Grill, this is a bar that has earned an establish reputation as a soccer bar. They open early for early games and serve a full English breakfast, which I highly recommend. Again, I recommend the pub chips here. Dip these into curry sauce and experience an explosion of flavors.
The experience is very much like the “neighborhood pub” that so many people in England have, which is sadly something we don’t have in America (as a former resident of the UK, I can say that with great certainty). It’s become a place that many people from around their world can call their “local pub”. The atmosphere is great, it’s a well maintained and very clean pub with a darts board, quiz machines, and six TVs around the bar. They also boast a beer selection of over 125 different choices.
Like Shakespeare’s Pub, Phileas Fogg’s are going to be showing every single match for the World Cup. On their website it remarks that because of the estimated popularity that a ticketing system will be implemented-but it shouldn’t be too hard to get in and have a good time. With six high definition TVs around the bar, it’s guaranteed good viewing. Their hours of operation are Mon-Fri 11:00am-11:00pm, Sat 7:00am-11:00pm, Sun 8:00am-11:00pm. For the earlier World Cup games, though, they will be open.
Both Shakespeare’s Pub and Grill and Phileas Fogg’s Bar and Restaurant are the two best soccer bars in San Diego in terms of atmosphere, crowd, and general viewing of the televisions. You’ll get to experience authentic pub food, great drinks, and I’d venture it is the most accurate pub experience you could wish for in Southern California. If you head out for the World Cup to either of these watering holes, I hope to see you there!