As the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Brazil, many soccer fans in Kansas City will be cheering for the U.S. men's team and Sporting KC players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.
But many other Kansas Citians will cheer on teams from around the globe.
For optimum World Cup viewing, we've rounded up a list of local places to go for a more international soccer experience:
Brazil: Taste of Brazil Market, 25 E. 3rd St, Kansas City, Mo.
Owner Marco Rabello has set up a 70-inch TV outside the market and a smaller one inside. You can drink coconut water or the popular soft drink, guaraná, and eat pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread). Brazilians invariably wear yellow and green, and bring percussion. Taste of Brazil doesn’t have a liquor license yet, so they won’t be selling beer or caipirinhas, the Brazilian national drink made with lime and cachaça.
England: White Horse Pub: 10221 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Mo.
A London native owns this classic English pub. White Horse shows European soccer games throughout the year, but will feature England and U.S. games during the World Cup. If you want to get in the English spirit, order a classic English dish, such as bangers and mash or fish and chips. A trip to the pub isn't complete without a beer — Boddingtons and Bass are both on tap.
Germany: KC Bier Company, 310 W. 79th St., Kansas City, Mo.
This Kansas City brewery is all about German beer, and they’re installing an 80 inch screen for the event. While they expect to show all of the World Cup games, Germany fans are making plans to head for the biergarten for the Germany v. U.S. game. If you’re looking for something to drink, the owner recommends trying KC Bier's newest beer during the game — doppelbock, a strong, brown lager.
Italy: Bella Napoli, 6229 Brookside Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.
This Brookside Italian restaurant and café isn’t known for normally having the atmosphere of a sports bar, but General Manager Giorgio Antongirolami is determined to pack Italian soccer fans in during the World Cup. Antongirolami says he hopes to recreate the gleefully claustrophobic feeling of watching World Cup matches at home in his native city of Rome, with friends jostling shoulder to shoulder and shouting at the TV. Fans call the Italy team Azzuri in honor of their light blue uniforms, and new fans would be wise to dress for the occasion. Bella Napoli’s full menu of authentic Italian grub will be available during Italy’s games, but Antongirolami warns that wait times for orders might be a little long, as the staff will likely be wrapped up in the games.
Mexico: La Fonda El Taquito, 800 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.
La Fonda El Taquito is bracing for a huge turnout from the Mexican community for World Cup games. Manager Maria Chaurand’s father was a professional soccer player in Mexico. Chaurand recommends toasting the Mexican team with a michelada, a drink consisting of beer, Clamato, wine and salt.
Spain: La Bodega, 703 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. or 4311 W 119th St., Leawood, Kan.
Both locations will be showing all of the World Cup games. They plan to cheer for whoever’s playing, but if you want to support the Spanish team, wear red and order verdejo, a crisp, Spanish white wine.
USA: Johnny’s Tavern in the Power & Light District, 1310 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.
Like most sports bars, Johnny’s will be showing all of the World Cup games, but things will heat up when the U.S. men take the pitch. Johnny’s is home to the Kansas City chapter of the American Outlaws, which is the official group supporting the U.S. soccer team. Expect things in the Kansas City Live area just outside the bar to get pretty crazy, too. An estimated 12,000 soccer fans gathered there for World Cup games in 2010. If you’re donning red, white and blue, consider getting the beer special at Johnny’s the Outlaw Draw, Freestate Brewery’s Blue Collar Lager.