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World Cup Expected To Fill Houston’s Sports Bars

Pubs and bars are getting ready for the big sports event.


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The World Cup is the best thing of the year for Michael Holliday, owner of the Richmond Arms Pub.

Normally, Houston is all about football – American football, that is. But starting on Thursday, a different type of football will draw Houstonians to the city’s sports bars.

Walk into the Richmond Arms Pub near the Galleria and you know there will be some soccer watching going on here. Patio tables are painted in the flags of participating World Cup teams and this year’s World Cup logo is plastered all over the walls.

“We’ll be totally full. A hundred percent full,” said Michael Holliday, owner of the Richmond Arms. “Actually, we’ll be turning people away.”

He said soccer is definitely becoming more popular among sports fans here.

“It’s growing, multiplying unbelievably, actually. Every four years the crowd gets larger and larger. And whereas years ago it used to be all international people watching it, now it’s probably 50 percent Americans.”

Holliday said his pub’s revenue will double during the 4 1/2 weeks the World Cup is played compared to a normal month. That’s because all the World Cup games will be played during the day, not the time people normally go to bars.

The Richmond Arms Pub traditionally draws fans of non-American sports. But what about sports bars that usually show basketball, baseball and American football?

“No, not Super Bowl comparable. But good, yeah, very busy,” said Wesley McDaniel, manager at Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill in Midtown.

Wesley McDaniel, manager of Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill in Midtown, expects a busy bar during the World Cup.

McDaniel said customers here usually come for different reasons, such as the food, karaoke, bingo or to watch football. But he said during the World Cup the bar gets busier.

“Yeah, I mean, we’ve made a big deal about it. We’ve covered a lot of promoting sides, specials, we’ve taken a lot of responsibility to make sure that we’re prepared when it does get busy,” he said. “We know it’s going to be busy and we’re expecting a lot of people and we’ve made the effort to have everybody happy with their soccer experience.”

A group of Christian’s Tailgate customers are already getting excited about the World Cup, although it’s not their sports highlight of the year.

“I’d say college football is highlight of the year,” said Kyle Burks with the group. “But every four years, everyone turns to the World Cup, checks back into soccer again.”

But they probably won’t be watching it here at the bar, said Travis Tapella.

“We will most likely host at a house and if we go to a bar – we might go to a bar – house parties are probably a bit easier for us. A bit more fun,” Tapella said. “We’ll have a lot more people and do it while we get in the pool, watch the game.”

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil starts on Thursday and the final will be played on July 13. Games will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC.

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