SACRAMENTO – World Cup fans don’t have an ideal time zone. Once the match has started, they will be there to represent their team. In Sacramento, bars and restaurants dusted off their old scripts for the occasion.
“We were open eight years ago, so we remember how busy it was for those 8 or 9 a.m. games,” says Calvin Lam, a manager at Public House Downtown.
The bar is one of two de facto bars for Team USA watch parties during the World Cup. Public House opens an hour earlier than usual for the event, but already saw a rush for the first game against Wales on Monday. The United States failed to qualify for the tournament in 2018, so this will be the first time in eight years that the bar has a crowd tuned in only to red, white and blue.
“Since four years ago it’s definitely a bit busier,” says Lam.
At Zocalo, you could see American jerseys during the Monday lunch rush, but it was nothing compared to Tuesday morning. As the Mexican national team kicked off at 8:00 AM, the downtown restaurant was packed to the windows with fans supporting “El Tri.”
“Five in the morning,” a patron told CBS13 when he woke up for the game. “Five in the morning, I’ve been drinking since six.”
Zocalo has staffers come in early for the Mexico games, notably.
“What we’re doing is shortening the menu a little bit,” says Assistant General Manager Nolan Sarabia. “Full bar so you can order shots, beers and all that goodies. But we do have three items – the brunch tacos, chilaquiles and breakfast burrito – to eat in the morning.”
It is also the first post-pandemic World Cup and one of the first global mass viewing events in bars and restaurants.
“Who doesn’t like being surrounded by people who enjoy the same sport?” explains Jose Saldana, who went to watch the game before going to work. “It’s great. After being locked up for what, two years, two years and a half, it’s great to see people feel comfortable again.”
On the back of lost revenue from COVID-19 and the rise of remote work in the Sacramento area, any major event that brings people to the bars is a boon for business.
“It’s a great feeling, especially now that not so many office workers are coming back downtown. Any kind of rush will be great for us,” said Lam.
“Everyone can go out and enjoy partying with all their families and everyone, so we’re excited to have everyone back,” adds Sarabia.
The group stage of the World Cup lasts for the next two weeks before the tournament concludes with the final on December 18.