The 2018 World Cup begins Thursday in Moscow, Russia, with a match between the host nation and Saudi Arabia, and Kansas City soccer fans may be feeling a bit shut out.
An estimated 3.4 billion fans — nearly half the world's population — are expected to tune in to the tournament. But of course, the United States Men's National Team failed to qualify for the first time in more than 30 years. And no players from Sporting Kansas City are on any other national team's World Cup rosters.
Still, establishments around Kansas City are hoping to capitalize on World Cup enthusiasm. Many are holding viewing parties for matches and serving World Cup-themed drinks and menu items for the next month.
Here are a few:
No Other Pub by Sporting KC in the Power and Light District will be the home of official SKC watch parties for several World Cup games. For most of the tournament, the venue will show 2-4 games per day. The pub will open early every day there is a match.
For fans of tournament favorite Brazil, Taste of Brazil in City Market has scheduled viewings of Brazil's pool play matches versus Switzerland and Serbia. The restaraunt has an outdoor television and will serve authentic Brazilian food during the matches. Taste of Brazil also hosted World Cup events in 2014 when the World Cup was held in Brazil; however, unlike four years ago, it now has a liquor license and serves drinks.
Not far away, Strange Days Brewing Co. in the River Market will be open extended hours to show every match of the tournament from the opener to the final on July 15. Strange Days will also release special brews inspired by participating teams throughout the month. For those who don't want to drink, the brewery will have coffee.
The German-inspired Kansas City Bier Company in Waldo will open early this Sunday for the midmorning World Cup game between defending champion Germany and Mexico followed by Father's Day festivities in the afternoon. (The brewery showcased several games when Germany won it all in 2014.)
If you live in Kansas City, Kansas, or just enjoy a dive bar atmosphere, Johnnie's on 7th will open at 7 a.m. for all World Cup matches. Expect the crowd at this establishment, which is always a soccer outpost, to be a random mix of fandom.
And just because the U.S. didn't qualify this year doesn't mean the American Outlaws — a national organization of U.S. National team supporters — won't be watching the games. Johnny's Tavern in the Power and Light District is the home of the Kansas City chapter of the Outlaws and will open early for some games.
Nicolas Telep is KCUR's morning news intern.
And if you live in Kansas City, Kansas, or just enjoy a dive bar atmosphere