In case you didn't hear, the World Cup kicks off in Brazil June 12. Running through July 13, it's a pretty big deal, not only for sports-lovers, but for Brazilian culture. A large portion of the world will be watching, and while doing so they'll want to be enjoying some tasty eats and drinks. Because soccer-viewing is a lot better when nice restaurants and bars are involved. While you're scoping out your World Cup perch for the coming month, consider these soccer-friendly spots.
JW Marriott Chicago: In honor of the World Cup's residence in Brazil this year, the JW Marriott Chicago is embracing its South American soul by serving up some Brazilian cheese bread called pao de queijo. This thing will make your garlic bread dreams seem like tepid nightmares, made with Parmesan and aged cheddar, plus a peppery Brazilian dipping sauce called malagueta. To drink, the hotel is featuring two cocktail specials, one called The Host made with cachaca, sugar, and lime, and the other called The Defenders with red wine, cola, and cinnamon.
La Sirena Clandestina: Brazilian expat John Manion is the man behind La Sirena Clandestina, the Fulton Market restaurant famed for its novel take on Brazilian cuisine. Which of course makes it a nifty spot to visit during the World Cup, if for no other reason than to put you in the right mindset before stopping off at another bar to watch the game. Dig into Manion's unique empanadas, which rotate fillings such as ham and cheese, and chase it with some killer cocktails, some feijoada, and some lobster tail with piri-piri butter.
Howells & Hood: Thanks to beer Mecca Howells & Hood, we can all get in on the World Cup action ourselves! Assuming you're 21 or older, of course. The duration of the World Cup, the palatial downtown restaurant is offering a special World of Cups craft beer flight, consisting of Lion Brewery's Lion Stout (Biyagama), Meantime Brewery's Sri Lanka Meantime IPA (London), Stone Brewery's Stone Arrogant Bastard (USA), and Krombacher Privatbrauerei's Krombacher Dark (Germany). The flight costs $16 altogether, taking your mouth on an international tour de force. Bonus: the restaurant opens at 10:45 a.m. during the World Cup.
Municipal Bar + Dining Co.: International bottled beers take the stage at Municipal Bar + Dining Co. throughout the World Cup. During World Cup games, the restaurant will feature "build-your-own World Cup Buckets," wherein guests fill a bucket with a bevy of international beers of their choosing. It's all a part of the "Drink Your Way Around the World" promo, which gives guests passports and stamps them off each time they visit Municipal during the World Cup. Once a certain number of stamps is amassed, they'll receive a prize.
Lottie's Pub: World Cup specials are on all month long at Lottie's Pub in Bucktown. With a collective 23 flat-screen TVs on two floors, plus two projectors, Lottie's Pub will basically make you feel like you're on the field during the Cup. Enjoy the thrill of it while partaking in Xingu draft specials and empanada sampler plates.
Grand Tour: In honor of Brazil's World Cup designation, internationally inspired Grand Tour focuses its themed monthly tasting menu on Brazil for June, featuring three courses of Brazilian dishes prepared by chef Roger Herring. The menu includes an empanada with shrimp, corn, and a hearts of palm salad; chicken moqueca on yucca puree with coconut, lime, and coriander sauce; and bolinhos for dessert, fried dumplings with cinnamon-sugar, passion fruit sauce, and coconut ice cream.
- Matt Kirouac