Football Fever Grips Peru: 9 Places to Watch the Big Game
Peru may not have a spot in the world’s biggest soccer tournament, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a stake in the games. Sports fanatics from around the world – be they born and bred locals, relocated expats or travelers just passing through – are aligning themselves with countries like this is a no-holds barred game of Risk. Whether they’re gunning for the host country’s canary yellow and green or just in it because of bets on who will take a bite out of the competition, people in Peru are pledging allegiance and cheering their hearts out for El Mundial.
From grocery stores checkout lanes to the front seat of taxis, it seems TVs playing the big game are everywhere. Even my favorite Indian joint switched off its normal Bollywood flicks in favor of the Chile v. Spain match. Given the dedication of die dogmatic soccer nuts, and the bars, restaurants, cafes and even taxi drivers catering to their need to watch, I’d say it’s almost easier to list the places you can’t watch the matches.
Still some places just have a cooler vibe, bigger flat screens and a better beer selection; plus it’s more fun to be in a room with equally maniacal die hards – a pint in one hand and your team’s flag in the other.
Paddy’s Irish Pub
Calle Triunfo 124, Plaza de Armas, Cusco
Located just off of Cuscos main square (Plaza de Armas) is Paddy’s, the highest Irish pub in the world, where Guinness, Jameson and Irish Coffee flow freely. Because Ireland failed to qualify for the games, fans supporting an array of teams feel more comfortable congregating here.
Norton Rat’s Tavern
Calle Santa Catalina Angosta 116, Plaza de Armas, Cusco
While some reviewers say the food leaves something to be desired, the atmosphere and beer selection are on-point. This bar also boasts walls of TVs so there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Cross Keys British Pub
Calle Triunfo 350, Plaza de Armas, Cusco
This pub isn’t jumping on the coat tails of the world’s biggest soccer tournament – it serves up games year round. For this, Cross Keys has earned the respect of both travelers and locals. Here, the TVs are fired up, the beer is on tap and the pub grub is on point.
Avenida Pedro de Osma 201a, Barranco, Lima
The Brits may have lost out on their chance of a trophy, but that doesn’t mean the Brits have stopped supporting the sport. The lamb shank, fish and chips and bangers and mash will make you feel like you’ve stepped out of this neighborhood Barranco bar and into a pub in England. And unlike most distilleries in Peru, this bar brews its craft beers on-site.
El Estadio Fútbol Club
Nicolás de Piérola 926, Plaza San Martín, Lima
This football-themed pub has become one of the traditional spots to catch a match accompanied by drinks, snacks and of course your favorite players: Bolotelli, Reynaldo, Neymar and Dempsey. Inside, eleven TVs – six big screens and five LCDs – play all of the games. To get patrons in the Mundial mood, the restaurant crafted a Brazilian-themed menu with Feijoada (black bean stew with beef and pork) and lemon or passion fruit piskiriñas (a play off Brazil’s national drink, caipirinha, but with a Peruvian spin).
Calle Tutumo 151, Surco, Lima
Club Germania is the Oktoberfest of footballing, where Germans and their team’s devotees meet for all the games. It’s also a place where beer connoisseurs can get the authentic German brews, something most Lima outfits lack.
The Corner Bar
Avenida Jose Larco 1207, Miraflores, Lima
With university and professional flags lining the walls, this bar especially appeals to American football fans; but during soccer matches, and especially once every quadrennial, fútbol is king.
Media Naranja Brasileiro
Shell 130, Miraflores, Lima
Stepping inside la Media Naranja is the closest thing to watching the games from Estadio Do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. This bar and restaurant boasts bona fide Brazilian eats and an authentic experience. What the bar lacks in TVs (there are only three) it makes up for with patrons who know how to party. Expect to sing Brazil’s national anthem every time the team scores a goal.
Bolivar 164, Miraflores, Lima
This is where people go when they need to get their quality beef / homemade pasta / Mendoza wine fix. It’s also where argentinos and fans of the Albicelestes go to be surrounded by their compadres.
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