The US Men’s National Team takes on the Netherlands on Saturday, December 3 at 10 AM in the first round of the World Cup’s knockout stage. If they win, they’ll advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, and only the third time in the team’s history. Some area bars have been nearing or reaching capacity for US games this World Cup, while others have had more room. Keep in mind though, that the US has only played weekday afternoon games so far.
So how early should you show up Saturday morning? The short answer: plan to get to your preferred viewing location between 8:30 and 9 AM. Otherwise, like the US Men’s National Team if they lose, you’ll be on the outside looking in.
Here’s what different bars around town are projecting:
Public Bar, Dupont Circle: “Definitely for USA games, we’ve been reaching capacity,” says events manager Sophia Lucero. “Thirty minutes into the game, it’s packed.” There was a line around the block of people waiting to get in to watch the last US game, Lucero says, and the bar had to turn people away. On Saturday, doors open at 9 AM. There are several reservations right at 9 or 9:30, and 12 of its 18 tables are already booked. You may have luck with bar tables, which are first come first served. Still, “Saturday is going to be crazy,” Lucero says.
Astro Beer Hall, Downtown DC: This bar is the official headquarters of the DC chapter of soccer-focused non-profit American Outlaws. General manager Nikki Hunter says crowds have depended on the games. For Monday and Tuesday games, the bar has reached capacity 30 minutes before kickoff. Against England on Black Friday? Two hours before kickoff. On Saturday, doors open at 6 AM. It expects to be full by 9 AM, so get there by 8 if you want a spot among American’s version of hooligans.
Franklin Hall, 14th Street Corridor: General manager Nate Kazaitis says the bar hasn’t hit capacity for US games so far, but it’s gotten close with 200 to 225 people in attendance. When it opens at 8 AM on Saturday morning, Kazaitis expects there will be a line at the door, and that the bar will be full by 9 or 9:30.
Elephant and Castle, Penn Quarter: This is the main Netherlands watch bar. A representative said the pub was pretty busy on Tuesday when the Netherlands and the US both played in their respective group finales, but they didn’t have to turn people away. Still, they’re anticipating a “pretty packed” scene once they open at 9:30 Saturday morning.
Midlands, Park View: The beer garden says it’s been reaching capacity; on Saturday, it recommends arriving right when it opens at 9 AM to get a spot.
Hook Hall, Park View: Bar seating is completely sold out at this venue, which is across the street from Midlands and opens at 9 on Saturday. Still, there is ample standing room space and an enclosed backyard.
Wunder Garten, H Street Corridor: The beer garden has been reaching capacity, and recommends getting there by 9 on Saturday morning.
Lou’s Sports Bar, Columbia Heights: The bar hasn’t been filled to capacity thus far, but it’s been getting a “nice crowd” for the US games and all the tables have been taken. It will open at 9:45 on Saturday morning, and a rep advises that people show up right at that time.
Clubhouse Georgetown: It’s also been close to capacity for games, and expects to fill up by 9:30 AM on Saturday.
Some bars have been offering ticketed seats to help with crowd control:
The Queen Vic, H Street Corridor: Ryan Gordon, owner of this British pub, said the teams representing the crown have been good for business, with the US playing England and Wales in the group stage: “It was a fiasco with the US and England playing at the same time,” he says. When the two teams played each other last Friday, they were booked solid. They’re booked again for Saturday’s game, but are allowing an additional 70 to 80 people to show up as walk-ins for standing room availability and the bar’s parklet, which has TVs. Doors open at 9 AM on Saturday. “We’re telling people who don’t have a ticket to get here by 8:30,” says Gordon, adding that he expects people will start lining up at 8 AM.
Duffy’s Irish Pub, Dupont Circle: It is offering tickets for 60 seats between the barstools and tables, which operations manager Richard Julian anticipates will be booked up by Saturday. The bar will be open by 9:30 (possibly by 9). Those who don’t have a ticket are encouraged to get there early to secure one of the additional 40 standing room spots—all of which were completely full on Friday for US vs. England.