Soccer (known outside the U.S. as football, or local languages’ variations thereof) is the most popular sport in the world, attracting audiences on every continent (even Antarctica). That makes it wildly popular in Oakland, which is home to expat populations from regions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe where its matches boast the most passionate spectators. With the 22nd World Cup—the most prestigious competition in men’s soccer — kicking off on Sunday, local bars and restaurants will be packed with fans cheering their favorite teams on to victory.
As with every year, the games are not without controversy. International soccer’s governing body, the Fédération internationale de Football Association (FIFA) regularly faces allegations of corruption, and FIFA’s decision to allow the nation of Qatar to host the World Cup has prompted boycotts, and widespread criticism. Qatar’s female population is denied most basic human rights and same-sex relations are illegal there, with a punishment of up to seven years in prison. The Qatari government has also been accused of abuse of migrants from Bangladesh, India and Nepal to build stadiums. Add to that corrupt political payoffs, participating countries that repress their own populations, and you’ll see why some cities are refusing to hold theri usual public screenings of the matches.
In past years, several Bay Area cities have also hosted public presentations of the matches, but as of publication time, none have been announced. That leaves local bars and restaurants to pick up the slack, should you choose to watch.
Here’s The Oaklandside’s list of area bars and restaurants that have confirmed they will be opening for many of the 22nd World Cup’s matches. Matches begin on Sunday and will happen at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 8 a.m., and 11 a.m. Pacific Time. Most places we spoke with said they’ll be open for the 8 and 11 a.m. games. If we missed your favorite spot, please send us an email and we’ll add them to the list.
Bars and restaurants
The longstanding Eritrean restaurant on Telegraph Avenue will open its bar and lounge at 11 a.m. to show all games during this time slot. 5020 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
The self-proclaimed “best sports bar ever,” is going all out for the World Cup. ACO will host watch parties for every round of 32 matches, starting with the opening game featuring Ecuador vs. Qatar this Sunday. Doors open as early as 5 a.m. Reservations are encouraged to ensure access, as only a few walk-in seats will be available. The bar’s full schedule is available on ACO’s website. 59 Grand Ave., Oakland.
Manager Neil Skapura told us his crew at the College Avenue bar is stoked for the tournament. Ben and Nick’s will be open for all games starting at 4:45 a.m., starting on Monday’s match between England and Iran. They will offer a limited menu of breakfast burritos with chorizo and Impossible burgers, but won’t be serving alcohol until 6 a.m. The bar will be closed on Thanksgiving. With four screens, easy parking nearby, and BART a block away, expect this place to be packed. 5612 College Ave., Oakland.
The cocktail bar and restaurant located in Old Oakland will host watch parties for select World Cup games, beginning with the Qatar vs. Ecuador opener on Sunday at 8 a.m. Enjoy a continental breakfast and a morning cocktail or beer of your choice for $20. Tickets can be purchased online. 532 8th St., Oakland.
This pizza place is packed to the brim with televisions, with eight inside and two outside for their parklet customers. The University Avenue staple will be open for the late morning games at 11 a.m. A favorite of many international students attending UC Berkeley, expect a fun, diverse crowd. 2072 University Ave., Berkeley.
The German-American bar and restaurant located on the Oakland waterfront will open at 10:30 a.m. to show six of the opening games, all starting at 11 a.m. More showings will be announced once the round of 16 contenders is decided. 1000 Embarcadero, Oakland.
The manager of the Piedmont Avenue favorite told The Oaklandside they will open at 10:45 a.m. for the first-round U.S. games. For these games, Cato’s will only offer drinks for the first 45 minutes, but food will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. as usual. 3891 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.
Commonwealth, which closes for good on Nov. 19, will reopen only to host gatherings during World Cup games. Individuals interested in watching certain games must make a request via Instagram or email Commonwealth staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. 2882 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
This recently opened pub in San Leandro just announced that its doors will be open at 6:30 a.m. for the big match between the U.S. and Netherlands on Saturday, Dec. 3, and for all of the remaining World Cup games. 1680 Washington Ave., San Leandro.
The Latin American bar and grill will show all World Cup games, including the 2 a.m matches, starting with Sunday’s opener at 8 a.m. Attendees will be able to watch from the patio, inside the restaurant, and even on their patio bus, which will be parked outside with a TV. Guests are encouraged to email founder Hamei Hamedi at email@example.com if they want to reserve a private room or the bus. (If the bus isn’t reserved during any given match, it will be first-come first-seated.) A limited breakfast menu will be available. 2056 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley.
E’ville’s big food hall will have World Cup games playing on a projector screen in the main seating area. Since hall opening hours are at 10 a.m., Monday through Sunday, expect to be able to watch only the 11 a.m. games. In addition to the projector, Market Hall also features a public bar in the center of the marketplace with several screens tuned into the game, as well. 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville.
This Rockridge establishment, which has recently started offering stand-up comedy in the patio next to its location, will be open for most 11 a.m. games and every match featuring the US Men’s National Team. 5940 College Ave., Oakland.
One of Fruitvale’s largest restaurants opens at 7 a.m. with full drink and food menus. With up to four screens available to watch the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. games, expect to see a large contingent of Latin American fans here. 1001 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland.
The classic North Oakland pub, which features indoor and outdoor spaces, will open its doors to World Cup fans every morning at 11 a.m starting with Monday’s U.S. vs. Wales game. 5227 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
The Mexican bar and restaurant on Fruitvale Avenue will show games featuring most of the Latin American participants — Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Mi Grullense opens at 9 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. 1457 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland.
The East African sports bar and restaurant opens at 8 a.m. seven days a week, and will show most of the 8 and 11 a.m. World Cup matches. This might be a good place to watch Ghana or Cameroon. 3860 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland.
The Uptown Oakland theater will host showings for most World Cup games, including the finals. Attendees can watch the world’s best soccer teams duke it out on the field while feasting on a selection of all-you-can-eat cereal. More details can be found on the New Parkway’s website. 474 24th St., Oakland.
Oakland Roots, the city’s professional men’s soccer team, will host viewing parties for the World Cup quarterfinals on Dec. 10 and finals on Dec. 18. Both events will begin at 7 a.m; doors open at 6:45 a.m. The quarterfinals event will take place at Plank and the finals watch party on the 18th will be at Line 51 Brewing in Jack London Square. Plank— 98 Broadway, Oakland. Line 51 Brewing— 303 Castro St., Oakland
This Brazilian cafe, restaurant, and craft beer taproom will show all 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. games during the first round of 32 teams. The schedule for the round after that has yet to be determined. 4239 Park Blvd., Oakland.
The large Jack London Square entertainment venue, featuring bowling, pool, and arcade games, will open for 11 a.m. games throughout the tournament. They may open for 8 a.m. games during the knockout rounds, a manager said. 98 Broadway, Oakland.
Known for Salvadoran goodies like pupusas, sopa de res, and yuca fritas, This central Berkeley spotwill be open for all 11 a.m. games except on Monday, when the business is usually closed. On the weekends, the restaurant is open at 10 a.m., so you might be able to catch the end of the 8 a.m. game there too. 2042 University Ave., Berkeley.
The Irish pub located at Jack London square will show five first-round matches, all starting at 11 a.m. These include some of the World Cup’s most anticipated games such as Mexico vs. Argentina and Spain vs. Germany. 131 Broadway, Oakland.
Located near the Webster Tube connecting Alameda and Oakland, VJ’s can pack in close to 90 people. It will open every day during the World Cup at 730 a.m., its owner confirmed, on schedule to watch 8 a.m. games on its 17 TVs. All regular drinks and food items will be available, as will a new breakfast menu for this event that includes omelets and waffles. 901 Marina Village Pkwy, Alameda.
How to watch the 2022 World Cup from home or online
As Fox holds the U.S. broadcast rights to this year’s World Cup, Bay Area l Fox affiliate KTVU (Channel 2 for over the air viewers), will carry many of the games, including the U.S. Men’s National Team and all knockout round games. Updates on KTVU’s World Cup broadcast schedule can be found on its World Cup page.
Cable network Fox Sports 1 (FS1)will also carry first-round games. FS1 is part of local cable packages including Direct TV, AT&T Uverse, and Comcast. Streaming services including FUBO TV, Sling TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV also carry FS1, often for an additional fee.
If you want to watch the games in Spanish, tune in to Telemundo. In Oakland and nearby cities, the local Telemundo affiliate is Channel 48 KSTS. All 64 games will also be available on NBC’s Peacock service, a Telemundo partner.
If you are one of many people in Oakland who would rather watch and listen to your native country’s broadcasters, paying for a VPN line is an option. NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and ExpressShark are some of the apps tech reviewers recommend. English folks, for example, could use this IT run-around to watch games on the BBC, Senegalese fans could tune into RTS, and Argentinians could switch on their native public broadcast channel TVP to watch Messi and Argentina try to redeem themselves from their 2014 loss in the finals.
If you happen to be on the move and can’t watch the games on a screen, you can tune in via radio. FOX Sports will be airing English-language broadcasts of all matches on SiriusXM channel 83. When two matches are occurring simultaneously, the other match will air on SiriusXM FC channel 157.