The USA-Netherlands FIFA World Cup game might kick off in Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday, but the ball won’t stop rolling there as scores of fans head out to catch it in Chicago.
“We’re going to have a huge watch party,” said Heather Roberts, the co-owner of Whiskey Girl Tavern, a North Side bar dedicated to watching women’s sports. “We’ve dedicated the entire space in front and the back rooms for the match.”
Roberts and her wife, Christina, opened their bar at 6318 N. Clark St. after finding “it’s hard to find a place to watch women’s sports,” but at 8 p.m. Wednesday, they’ll be among a bevy of places expecting to be packed for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s second cup game.
The Globe Pub, 1934 W. Irving Park Rd., saw a full doubling of its business for the first game, said general manager Claire Craigen.
“The USA, Vietnam game on Friday was bonkers, so you’ll see this place packed,” said Craigen, a seasoned World Cup bartender at the North Center pub.
For that game, the Globe was standing room only and the patio full. Like other bar managers, Craigen expected similar crowds for Wednesday’s rematch of the 2019 World Cup Final and recommended arriving at least 30 minutes before kickoff.
Carlie Hansen, a Chicago-area native, said she was excited to watch U.S. soccer’s most winning team, who are aiming to win their third title in a row this year and fifth overall.
“The men have not done anything as major as our women have,” said Hansen, 24.
The North Side resident is a dedicated member of the Red Stars Local 134 fan club. She said the place to watch would be A.J. Hudson’s, 3801 N. Ashland Ave., where dozens of club members are expected to attend.
Hansen, a goalkeeper for the Edgewater Castle FC, said in particular she’d be watching the Red Stars’ own Alyssa Naeher, who was the starting goalkeeper at the last World Cup.
“I watch her see her make these crazy saves back in Chicago,” Hansen said, “and seeing her do them at the World Cup is really awesome.”
Here’s a few places to catch Naeher’s saves and the rest of the action Wednesday.
A.J. Hudson’s Public House, 3801 N. Ashland Ave.
If you’re hoping to watch the match at “Chicago’s original soccer bar,” as this English pub touts itself, make sure to get there early because A.J. Hudson’s, known for its 100-plus beer offerings and upscale pub fare, is expecting a big crowd on Wednesday, bartender Jane Chaman said.
“People know if there’s a big game to come see us,” Chaman said. “We had a really big crowd on Friday [for the U.S.-Vietnam match] and this is a bigger game.”
Cleos Bar and Grill, 1935 W. Chicago Ave.
This Ukrainian Village staple earned a reputation as one of Chicago’s premier soccer hubs since making the sport a focus. Fans can watch the match on one of the bar’s numerous TVs, with 12 inside and five on the patio. The bar also has a 4 a.m. license so night owls wanting to catch any late-night matches will want to add this to their watching rotation.
Fire Pitch, 3626 N. Talman Ave.
The community sports complex is the Chicago Fire’s official hotspot for viewing most World Cup matches — except for those that kick off at 4 a.m. Soccer fans can enjoy access to specialty food and drinks, including pierogi and tacos.
On Wednesday, nonprofit America SCORES Chicago is hosting a free watch party as a leadup to SCORES Cup, Chicago’s longest running charity soccer tournament. The organization will also raffle items including a Chicago Fire FC 2023 home jersey and autographed mini ball from Red Stars Midfielder Jill Aguilera as well as a 50/50 raffle. Food & drink will be available for purchase at Heineken Pub97, the Fire Pitch’s pub. To purchase raffle tickets, attendees can visit the organization’s website.
The Globe Pub, 1934 W. Irving Park Rd.
This North Center gathering spot has been voted Best Soccer Pub in the U.S. by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Diehard fans looking for a home base to watch the whole tournament will be happy to know that The Globe will be showing all possible games, even if a night game begins at or before 12:30 a.m. and will not close until it’s over.
Nobody’s Darling, 1744 W. Balmoral Ave.
Come for the wine, stay for the game. This James Beard-nominated hot spot in Andersonville is hosting Wine Down Wednesday Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m., a mixer to meet new friends and a watch party afterward where you can cheer on Team USA with your new friends and $20 bottles or $7 glasses.
One City Tap, 3115 S. Archer Ave.
Since opening more than five years ago, One City Tap has earned a nod as one of Chicago’s go-to soccer bars when it began hosting Chicago Fire watch parties in 2021.
R Public House, 1508 W Jarvis Ave.
This Rogers Park woman-owned bar is known for not just showcasing soccer but women’s soccer in particular, bar manager Joseph Sandy said. In addition to beer specials, a representative from the Red Stars will be on hand to cheer on the team. To make a reservation, call 872-208-7916.
The Rambler Kitchen and Tap, 4128 N. Lincoln Ave.
Enjoy specials like $5 pizza puffs, $5 Malort and $5 Mama’s Little Yella Pils shots, $18 Freedom Flights and $25 Truly buckets while cheering on Team USA to victory. Reserve a table by email@example.com
Whiskey Girl Tavern, 6318 N. Clark St.
For the game, they will serve Raspberry Rapinoe Rita special for $10, named after soccer star Megan Rapinoe. A few Red Stars players are expected to attend. If your group of soccer fans is more than six, make sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your table.
Woodlawn Tap, 1172 E. 55th St.
This Hyde Park hangout had a big crowd on Friday and bartender Marigrace Gordon is expecting more of the same Wednesday.
“We had a ton of people come in [for the U.S.-Vietnam match]. Most of the time when there’s a bigger game we do get filled up and [the crowd gets] rowdy. People definitely come here for that.”
Wednesday’s match will be on all five TV’s in the main room and two in the west room, Gordon said.
Interested fans have been calling and they don’t take reservations so arriving earlier is recommended.
Michael Loria is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.