Soccer's biggest event, the World Cup, has returned after its regular four-year hiatus. Fans from all over the globe will be flocking to Brazil to view matches for the next month.
For those of us stuck here in Palo Alto and the surrounding Mid-Peninsula, there are still plenty of places to catch the action. Depending on who you are, how you're feeling and where you might be over the course of the World Cup, the ideal viewing venue will likely shift for you from day to day. You might just want to kick off your shoes and watch from home. But for those wanting to belly up to the bar, enjoy a game at a restaurant, or even sneak some peeks from the office, we've got you covered. The only question is, what kind of fan are you?
The Foodie Fan: Microwaved and or hastily reheated bar food is unacceptable for you. You need to satisfy your sophisticated palate while overlooking the pitch. Well then, you might consider Steins Beer Garden in Mountain View. With several screens, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, a vast selection of craft beers, innovative cocktails and food fit to satisfy the most epicurean tastes, this is the place for the foodie fan. And, for early risers, Steins will be opening early, at 8:30 a.m., to ensure no patrons will miss a minute of the action. 895 Villa St., Mountain View | 650-963-9568
Soccer Hooligan: Grab the scarf of your favorite club and head down to St. Stephens Green. With its dim lighting, dark wood and brick walls, this traditional public house-style bar is the perfect place to do what you do best: drink Boddingtons and cheer at the top of your lungs. The pub will be showing matches on 11 high-definition screens and serving up plenty of bar bites. So grab a pint and a basket of fish and chips, mate. 223 Castro St., Mountain View | 650-964-9151
The Party Fan/Bandwagon Jumper: When you heard the World Cup was coming back this summer, you got excited -- not because you care about soccer, or any sport for that matter. It's just another excuse to get together with friends and throw some back. For a boisterous, community atmosphere, check out The Old Pro in downtown Palo Alto. It's big, the beer and booze flow easily and those who do understand the game will let you know when you're supposed to cheer. So, cheers! 541 Ramona St., Palo Alto | 650-326-1446
The Low Key Fan: If you enjoy going out, but you don't want to be bothered by the heaving masses, then 4141 El Camino might be for you. Driving past the place, you'd never know what it was if it weren't for the understated bottle and mug of beer, painted on the outside of the building, right above three block letters: B-A-R. This no-nonsense establishment will set you up with a quality brew and leave you alone to enjoy the game, and your drink, in peace. 4141 El Camino, Palo Alto | 650-800-7691
The Cocktail Connoisseur: For those soccer fans who prefer watering holes with "mixologists" behind the bar, consider the Palo Alto Grill. With a small bar and lounge area and two TVs, this is not the place to get wild. It is, however, a go-to for some quality craft cocktails in Palo Alto (try their Moscow mule with house-made ginger syrup and lime). They also have an extensive wine list, high-end eats (it's a great spot for foodie fans, too) and some happy-hour deals to boot. 140 University Ave., Palo Alto | 650-321-3514
Lounging Around: Want the best of both worlds? The Living Room in Redwood City provides many of the trappings and advantages of a night in, while simultaneously providing customers access to a full bar, craft beer and a great wine selection. Multiple plush couches, plenty of TVs, board games, a fire place and a policy that not only allows, but encourages, bringing your own snacks, this concept bar is right for those who would prefer to stay in but feel compelled to go out. 2048 Broadway, Redwood City | 650-365-7666
Burgers and (Soccer) Balls: If you're the kind of soccer fan who craves big burgers and big beers, then Tied House in Mountain View might be your place. With two regular weekday happy hours (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m.), plus $5 off pitchers during every match of the World Cup, your wallet will catch a break, even as you fill your stomach with any one of their seven original microbrews, garlic fries and the "Brewers Burger," a behemoth topped with griddled pastrami and Swiss cheese. 954 Villa St., Mountain View | 650-965-2739
South of the Border: The World Cup is being held in South America this year. As such, it might make sense to enjoy some Latin flavor while taking in a match. If this sounds like your kind of fiesta, check out downtown Palo Alto's Tacolicious. The restaurant serves a variety of signature tacos and snacks as well as imported beer and cocktails featuring tequila and mezcal -- including margaritas, of course. 632 Emerson St., Palo Alto | 650-838-0500
Stuck At Work: Stuck at work for most of the Cup? Well, we won't advocate drinking at your desk, but if you need to take a break from the drudgery and you are a cable subscriber with access to ESPN, you may also have access to the World Cup on your computer. The sports network is streaming all 64 matches on computers, mobile devices, video game systems and box-top sets, like Apple TV and Roku. Contact your cable provider or go to espn.go.com/watchespn for more information.