The words “Give me freedom, give me fire, give me reason, take me higher” are very much branded in my mind after a long week of glorious World Cup soccer. The K’naan/David Bisbal lyrics can be heard bellowing from the mouths of enthusiastic fans and echoing throughout any area of Lima screening a game. Like most of my fellow avid soccer fans I have my team – team England, the team that will win the World Cup and claim victory once and for all! Ok, maybe not. But still, I can have hope and I will no doubt be watching every single one of their games. Atmosphere is sometimes crucial for watching a great game and there are many factors that come into play when choosing that perfect venue. After exploring the soccer scene I have scouted out my own personal favourite right here in Lima.
For the more serious soccer fan there is El Estadio, located near the Plaza San Martin on Nicolás de Piérola 926 . The oodles of soccer memorabilia, jerseys and scarves covering the walls will definitely put you into a fan mindset once you first enter the bar. It has three floors, so choosing a place to sit can be quite difficult as every floor has its own unique qualities and soccer viewing angles. The food was excellent and I would direct your attention to the appetizer portion of the menu which I’m sure would not disappoint anyone since it is filled with a number of delicious treats and traditional Peruvian food, great for sharing with a group. And of course, El Estadio offers a wide range of beverages from Pisco to Pina Coladas in small soccer balls to good old-fashioned beer. If you are thinking about this venue don’t forget that a minimum of 30 soles (15$) must be spent per person and seats must be booked in advance as they fill up fast for each game.
For the England vs. USA match I worked my way over to Av. Larco 1207 in Miraflores to a traditional American sports bar called The Corner – a favourite among tourists. If you are looking to break new ground in your Peruvian gastronomical exploration you have come to the wrong place since most of their menu includes traditional sports bar favourites like hamburgers, French fries, chicken wings and lots of choices that begin with the word “Buffalo”. One of my favourite things about this place is the “Corner Tower” as the bar has dubbed it; a tall cylindrical tube filled with 3 litres of delicious golden-brown beer (25$US). A minimum of 30 soles is also required of each person to spend here. The Corner is an excellent venue for watching world cup soccer since it has dozens of screens at all angles ensuring that every seat in the house is a good seat. Overall this establishment is extremely reminiscent of any American sports bar I’ve been to so if you are feeling a tad home sick and North American this is the place to be.
Plaza de Armas
Ultimately my own personal favourite would have to be the Plaza de Armas located in El Centro de Lima where there is a large screen set up for the duration of the World Cup. It plays every game, every day and is completely open to the public free of admission. Unlike your bar or pub option is does not serve food, however a number of restaurants and vendors line the square for all your dining needs before and after a game. It is the ambiance and flux of energy that make this venue so memorable. The cameras whizzing above the crowd, people screaming and roaring in excitement, the boom of the speakers and pulse of the music all in unison make this experience the next best thing to an actual game itself. With hundreds if not thousands of people sharing in your excitement I give the Plaza de Armas a 10 out of 10 rating, because lets face it, a victory means nothing unless it is shared with others.
Christina Baker is a volunteer with Karikuy.org