Tucson's World Cup hotspots offer plenty of kicks and more

2014-06-15T00:00:00Z 2014-06-17T09:43:14Z Tucson's World Cup hotspots offer plenty of kicks and moreBy Zack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tommy Amparano’s initial plan for the 2014 World Cup didn’t exactly work out.

Four years ago, watching the 2010 World Cup at the Auld Dubliner on University Boulevard, he and some of his fellow “American Outlaws” friends decided they would make the trip to the 2014 Cup.

As in, to Brazil.

“We were all thinking, ‘Yeah, yeah, we’re all gonna be in Brazil by then,’” Amparano said. “Now it’s here, and we’re still in Tucson, but that’s OK.”

So, he’ll be posted up downtown with the rest of the American Outlaws, a national group of supporters for the U.S. national soccer team of which Amparano is the Tucson chapter president. He started the Tucson group in 2010, with a grand total of three people. Since, it’s grown to about 50.

“It runs the gamut,” he said. “Students, every political affiliation, we have female Outlaws, I’m Hispanic. We have every color you can imagine.

“It’s Tucson. We are such a diverse group, outside of soccer we’d probably not be hanging out — but once we come together, it’s all about soccer.”

Along with the occasional adult beverage, of course.

Drink of choice?

“Well,” Amparano said, “we’re not doing appletinis and mimosas.”

Beer it is.

Amparano and the rest of Tucson’s American Outlaws will be watching the U.S. game downtown, and there are plenty of other places around in Tucson to watch this year’s World Cup. Here are four spots to check out:

Playground Bar
& Lounge

Where: 278 E. Congress St.

Why: It’s the American Outlaws’ bar of choice, for one, and just might be Southern Arizona’s top gathering spot for soccer fans. FC Tucson, Tucson’s minor-league soccer club, hosts events there. Soccer America listed Playground as one of 174 places nationwide to watch the World Cup.

There’s good reason.

“I saw Playground on the day they opened (in 2011) and saw these giant TVs and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, this will be perfect for soccer — and they’re good for it,” Amparano said. “It’s slowly built up, and is getting pretty big now.”

Playground will be opening up early for the majority of World Cup matches. The bar is offering specials: $3 Bud Light drafts, $12 Bud or Bud Light buckets, $5 El Jimador margaritas and $5 Leblonn Cachaca. Cachaca, a distilled liquor made from sugarcane, is Brazil’s national spirit.

Sir Veza’s Taco Garage

Where: 4699 E. Speedway and 220 W. Wetmore Road.

Why: Mexico fans pack Sir Veza’s for matches, and the bar reciprocates with good deals. Sir Veza’s will open at 8:30 a.m. throughout the World Cup and offer deals on breakfast.

For $5 each, you can get an egg burrito, a breakfast bowl, a Bloody Mary, a Peñasco Tequila Margarita and Peñasco Tequila “Bandera” shots.

For $3, there’s 16-ounce Bud Light bottles and 20-ounce jumbo Bud Light drafts.

Trident Bar and Grill

Where: 2033 E. Speedway

Why: Trident is one of the best spots to watch sporting events, and the World Cup is no different.

The bar will open at 9 a.m. and have deals for $3 bottles of Modelo, and $5 breakfast burritos. If you stay for the later games, their regularly scheduled happy hour (from 3-7 p.m.) has $3.50 pints and $3 well drinks.

Rialto Theatre

Where: 318 E. Congress St.

Why: The Rialto is a popular venue for concerts, of course, but throughout the Cup, Rialto will be projecting the games on its 35-foot movie screen, with Gio Taco catering the games.

Rialto is downtown, which is right by the aforementioned Playground, Hi-Fi and World of Beer, all solid spots to watch the games.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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