Soccer isn’t coming home, after all.
England lost a heartbreaking World Cup semifinal Wednesday to Croatia, 2-1, ending what seemed to be a date with destiny for our friends across the pond. Meanwhile, the Croats continue a stunning run that sees the 20th-ranked nation in the soccer world one step from global domination. Not geopolitically, just in soccer.
But Croatia will have to first get by France, the seventh-ranked nation in the world and the surefire favorite in the World Cup final. The world will be watching at 10 a.m. Sunday as—wait, 10 a.m. Sunday?!
Yes, your brunch time is now a World Cup watch party. Luckily there are restaurants and bars throughout Houston (including French and Croatian spots) that are doing all the hard work. All you have to do is show up with some money and a hankering for cocktails and corner kicks.
No place is likely to attract more soccer fans Sunday morning than Pitch 25. The EaDo soccer hub promises a massive block party with live bands and DJs, onsite food trucks, and raffle prizes. Arrive before 10 a.m. (it opens at 8 a.m.), because there’s no cover, meaning you could be left out of a seat quickly.
You’re sure to be surrounded by loyalists from across the soccer spectrum at King’s Bierhaus, which has turned every match into a watch party. The finals party scheduled for 9 a.m. includes the full brunch menu, which includes Hungarian goulash (as close as we’re getting to true Croatian food here)—and the first 100 fans to enter will receive World Cup glassware. Fill up your glass with a Warsteiner Pilsner or Fruh Kolsch, or just order up a BierMosa, a good way to start a buzz that you can keep going all day.
Sadly I couldn’t find a local Croatian hangout, for those of you hoping to watch with excited Croats (we’d imagine you’ll find some fans at Pitch 25 or any local soccer bar). If you’re rooting on Les Blues, however, Brasserie 19 is pulling for France and pulling out some big-screen TVs as part of a lively brunch-style watch party. Brasserie 19 will keep its regular Sunday brunch menu, but any wine and champagne left over from the restaurant's Bastille Day party on Saturday night will roll over into the match day service, with discounted prices. Call for reservations, though, because they're going fast. "People started calling as soon as the game was over and we got quadruple the reservations within 24 hours," said Wendy Kfoury, general manager at Brasserie 19.
The Houston Gaelic Athletic Club will host a finals viewing party starting at 9 a.m. at Pimlico. Though the Irish national team was shut out of the World Cup this year (we know the feeling), that doesn't mean you can't celebrate the championship game with a couple pints of Guinness (or whatever your brand).
You can win an Adidas Telestar 18 match ball (the official match ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup) at a party being thrown by La Calle (Franklin Street's La Calle Tacos and its "La Cantina"). Specials include $3.99 paleta shots, and $8 menudo for when you need to recover from those $3.99 paleta shots.
Biggio’s at the Marriott Marquis Houston is opening at 9:45 a.m. for those hoping to catch the match on a 30-foot HD projection screen (they have two). Biggio’s is also offering a bloody Mary bar, chicken and waffle specials, and breakfast tacos.
The brewery is hosting a kegs-and-eggs brunch pop-up with Snow Topi. (The brewery says beer-poached eggs are likely to be on the menu). Who knows whether Holler's Great Uniter (a Vienna-style lager with citra hops) can bridge the gap between Croatian and French fans, but at least it'll be a delicious investigation.
You can pair Fruity Pebbles French toast with your France vs. Croatia viewing experience, as Bosscat is dedicating its Sunday Funday brunch to the World Cup Final. Bosscat isn't shying away from bias, either, pulling for France by breaking out the croissants (plain and chocolate) and champagne. Poor Croatia. The DJ will be present, too. Bosscat encourages folks to make reservations for this party, which starts at 9:30 a.m.
Also: Other spots we’ve previously mentioned, which will all be surely tuned into the game and filled with rowdy supporters of all stripes: Bar Munich; King’s Court Bar and Kitchen; Lucky’s Pub; The Phoenix on Westheimer; The Richmond Arms; and Ron’s Pub & White Horse Inn.