Although the soccer players do most of the sweating, we spectators have a lot of eating, drinking, and TV-screen heckling to do in honor of the 2010 World Cup. The question is, which destination will best satisfy our bellies? Here's a solid line up of city spots fit for the entire spectrum of World Cup fanatics.
Kezar Pub, 770 Stanyan St., S.F.
Head to this classic city drinking hole for any game France is playing in. Why? Because owner Cyril Hackett, who is Irish, wants revenge on France for beating Ireland during last year's World Cup playoffs. He's giving out free shots of Irish whisky to everyone in the bar each time any team scores a point against the French. For a little bit of a whisky cushion, order from their extensive menu of burgers, bangers and mash, and famous buffalo wings, or just concentrate on their selection of over 70 beers. Doors open at 4:30 am, and the procession of classic pub food begins at 6 am.
New kids on the block Public House and Mijita are throwing open their doors extra early to celebrate the World Cup-obsessed. Mijita, opening at 6 am, will start cooking a special brunch menu at 8 am, featuring pumpkin pancakes with strawberry jalapeno jam, braised chicarrones and special tortas (starting on June 12) like their own Sloppy José. Public House, a deeply-devoted sports haven featuring 23 TVs all tuned to soccer, will open at 11 am most days, and some days even earlier (check out their website's "On Deck" section for specifics). They pour almost 50 beers from around the world and offer daily specials like chicken pot pie and ciopinno from renowned chef Traci Des Jardins. You can get a 24 Bottles of Beer on the Wall punch card and once you fill it up, they'll give you your own Public House "World" cup. Likewise, if you don the jersey of any team playing in the World Cup and order one of their burgers, they'll give you hand-cut fries, onion rings, or chips on the house.
Mercury Lounge 1582 Folsom St., S.F.
Mercury Lounge is not messing around when it comes to the World Cup. Touting itself as "the only bar in San Francisco dedicated exclusively to the World Cup", this SOMA outpost is opening at 6 am every single day of international soccer mayhem. Guest bartenders will be offering possibly the best World Cup drink deals which Mercury's kitchen will be serving up a sinful breakfast menu starring hand-pulled corned beef hash, chilaquiles, and a chorizo hash tostada. Celebrate the World Cup at Mercury Lounge and you might not want, or be sober enough, to leave for the entire two weeks the games go on.
Jardiniere, 300 Grove St., S.F.
If you thought Jardiniere was reserved for sophisticates who drink cocktails with their pinky fingers sticking out, guess again. They're hip to the World Cup too, and have put together a beautiful prix fixe menu for Monday, June 14 honoring South African cuisine and wine. Curried green mango salad, grilled lamb with polenta and apricot chutney and a coconut custard tart with lychee gastrique are a far cry from the usual grease-bomb fare sports fans indulge in, and the restaurant's low-lit atmosphere is perfect for calming those frayed nerves after a day of drinking and screaming at TVs in a dive bar.
Horatius, 350 Kansas St., S.F.
This Portrero Hill Portuguese wine bar, art gallery and event space is rolling out the big screen to celebrate the World Cup this year. Horatius, set in a newly-remodeled warehouse, will be projecting all the games live on one of their huge walls so the action will be life sized and, if you're intoxicated enough, you might just believe you're actually there. From June 12-21, Horatius will open at 4:30 am, serving free cups of Ritual coffee to get people ready to cheer. They're also resurrecting their Portuguese-flavored, weekend brunch menu, which features banana brioche french toast, Milho Frito, Bacalhau and eggs, and bottomless mimosas.