The Euro 2012 tournament is in full swing in Eastern Europe, but it’s also alive in the bars and cafés of New York City where expats, travelers and American soccer fans (yes they exist) are enjoying the games. Last time we looked at Groups A and B and where their fans congregated in New York. This time it’s the nations from columns C and D.
I’ve never been to Spain. But I’ve been to Spain Restaurant. The latter is truly a rarified experience in the city – a Mad Men-era celebration of faux-Spanish iconography that translates into a good time to be had by all. The waiters wear crisp white collars and look as if they’ve been there since the place opened. Their sangria is as inauthentic as the décor but goes down easy with the free meatball and potato appetizers they serve. One of the happiest happy hours in town. Games will be shown amid the faux-brick décor and portraits of conquistadors. Viva Espana, indeed.
Who doesn’t love a good burek? (For the uninitiated they are the savory phylo pastries filled with meat, cheese and vegetables favored by those who live in the Balkan countries). Djerdan Burek is the place to nosh on Croatian delicacies such as the aforementioned “Best Burek in Town” as well as grilled meats. Lots and lots of grilled meats.
Like an old Sicilian grandpa, Little Italy seems to shrink a little bit every day. Overtaken by Chinatown, old school Italian restaurants and cafes are something of a novelty, now. The Mulberry Street Bar is still going strong and has become a landmark downtown, having been immortalized in films and tv shows like The Sopranos. High-ceilinged and covered with quaintly covered murals (That’s supposed to be Marilyn Monroe) it will have the Azzurri on the tube too.
You can barely take a step in New York without passing an Irish bar, but like Irish football clubs but all are not created equal. This year’s version of the green and white may be lacking in quality somewhat, but that’s not true of Molly’s Pub and Shebeen a Gramercy spot that is a cut above the traditional Irish drinking knook. Cozy as an old wool sweater.
The East Village was traditionally the entry point for many East European immigrants and still displays remnants of its roots in the Slavic pubs and eateries. One of my (and everybody’s) favorite establishments is Veselka a 24-hour Ukrainian diner that serves pierogies to die for and borscht that will restore life. As the sign says “Veselka is Love”.
The Swedish community in New York is like its design aesthetic, understated and discreet. One of the few places to get a decent plate of Swedish meatballs beyond Ikea is the AQ Café, a midtown Scandinavian restaurant characterized by its long wooden tables and tasteful lighting.
The French weren’t always known as being big soccer fans. But then they got good at starting winning things and suddenly every Guy, Marie and Jean-Luc seemed to be cheering for les Bleus. If you want to watch the games with them, or simply sip pastis and listen to great live music, Brooklyn’s Zebulon is the place to be.
England’s dreaming. Again. Every time there’s a major tournament they think back wistfully to the glory of 1966 when they won the World Cup, and think maybe… Lots of local pubs cater to the hard-bitten, loud fans of the Three Lions, but I’d recommend The Queen Vic a newer pub that doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers a homey little slice of Blighty, complete with royal portraits, dart board, shepherd’s pie and a soft-cushioned sofa.