Local soccer fans wanting to join the billions of people around the globe tuned into the World Cup in Japan and South Korea will be faced with a challenge. With start times ranging from 1:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Chicago time, the only solution is lots of coffee, an understandable boss and a soccer-friendly pub.
We can't help you with your boss, but we've got you covered on the other two. For many fans, the prospect of avoiding a score for an entire workday in order to watch a tape-delayed broadcast is unacceptable. There's no substitute to watching the games live, surrounded by fellow supporters. These places will keep their doors open late liquor license permitting and open them early for area footie fans.
(Note: Because ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will broadcast live all but six of the 64 matches, there will be no cover charge at any of the following places. Spanish-language Univision will air every match live.)
Abbey Pub and Restaurant, 3420 W. Grace St., Chicago, 773-478-4408
The Abbey Pub has been showing international soccer matches since the 1990 World Cup and has since become a great environment to watch soccer, rugby, Gaelic football and hurling. The World Cup will be no different. The bar attracts more than the expected Ireland, England and American fans. South American and African ex-pats show up when their teams play.
A 2 a.m. liquor license prohibits all-night alcohol sales, but the restaurant will remain open and air every match on the big screen as long as people are there, according to bar manager Pat Looney.
"I think the turnout should be pretty good," Looney said. "People I've talked to said they'd rather come out and share it with someone. It's just a shame that the time difference is so drastic. The football fans are different than any fans of any other sport. It's really wild. It'll be OK."
Fado, 100 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-836-0066
The only area soccer friendly pubs with a 5 a.m. liquor license, Fado claims to be the lone destination in the city to watch the majority of the games live and legally. The doors of this Near North Side Irish Pub will remain open virtually the entire month of June.
The only time liquor will not be served at Fado is 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. during the week, which gives you plenty of time to sober up and catch a nap before work.
"You can sit in here [between those hours] and watch the games, we just can't serve you anything," manager Chad Curley said.
This helps, considering the United States opens against Portugal at 4 a.m. June 5.
Ginger's Ale House, 3801 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, 773-348-2767
Owner Jamie Hale says Ginger's will show "all the matches that we're legally open for." Which, unfortunately, is not many, considering Ginger's closes at 2. But the pub will show matches on tape during the day and open at 7 a.m. for the early-morning matches.
Ginger's is a soccer-centric bar that routinely draws large and lively crowds for English and Scottish Premier League matches and Internationals. They also provide shuttle buses to Chicago Fire games.
"I'm a soccer fan, too," said Hale, a Brit and life-long Everton supporter. "[The time difference] is just an inconvenience. All the bars are going to take a hit."
Joe's Bar, 940 W. Weed St., Chicago, 312-337-3486
Joe's, a Clybourn Corridor sports bar, has ambitious plans for the Cup.
"We're going to be showing all of the games, at all of the crazy hours and everything," said Ed Warm, co-owner of Joe's. The tentative plan calls for Joe's to stop serving alcohol at 4 a.m., which its liquor license dictates it must dobut not to stop serving up soccer action.
"We're just going to play it by ear based on phone calls we get," said Warm, whose bar has 108 TVs, including 13 big screens. "We've got people from all nations calling us. It's a major sporting event, a world sporting event, and it's so big that no matter where it's televisedor whenI think we've got to do it."
Sedgwick's, 1935 N. Sedgwick, Chicago, 773-337-7900
When it was announced that Japan and Korea would host the 2002 World Cup, Mike Jannusch, general manager of Sedgwick's, was hardly pleased. Nothing against either country, but it means a lot of lost business.
"In 1998, we were packed the whole time," Jannusch said of the last World Cup in France. "We're not expecting that this go-around. But the phone's been ringing off the hook with people asking if we're going to be open."
Unfortunately for Old Town and Lincoln Park soccer fans, Sedgwick's, which closes at 2 a.m., will not be able to show the majority of the matches live. But like Ginger's, Sedgwick's will show all the matches on tape during the day and will open early for certain 6:30 a.m. matches, including England-Sweden June 2; Germany-Ireland June 5 and Argentina-England June 7.
Tribune staff reporter Lou Carlozo contributed to this story.