Compared to other parts of the U.S., Seattle is certifiably nutso for soccer. In the right venue, going out to watch a game can turn an ambivalent viewer into an at least moderately engaged fan. And in case you haven't heard, Euro 2012 is underway. All you really need to know about the global soccer tournament is that, if you're not chained to a desk and can sneak away for a couple of hours, the games present a very good excuse to sip a beer before noon. Euro 2012 began in early June and wraps up July 1. Sixteen teams started the competition, and eight are left: The Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, and England.
Most games start early, and finding bars and restaurants that are open at the right time can be tricky. If you've got kids in tow, scouting out all-ages venues showing the matches is even harder. Read on for five family friendly picks.
1 COLUMBIA CITY
While the collage of baseball bats mounted on an indoor fence and frat-esque name are turn offs for some, keep in mind that Rookies is totally unpretentious. The place isn't trying to be anything except what it is: a sports bar of the nacho and oversized pretzel variety. One that's run by a friendly staff that shows Euro 2012 games in the bar and on screens in the dining room, where kids aren't just tolerated but expected.
2 CAPITOL HILL
Go to Presse to watch the game and order decently prepared espresso drinks, morning pastries, croque madames, and frites. You'll be in a bright, airy space and not a dimly lit pub. Don't go to Presse unless you have an infant strapped to your body or an older child who knows how to sit still. There's a single television in the front half of the restaurant without a lot of wiggle room and, at last check, no high chairs or booster seats to be found.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a better place in town to watch Euro 2012 with kids. That's because Phinney Market has a built-in play space with a train table to occupy youngins. And bacon, cheddar, and cage free egg sandwiches for five bucks.
Bring your dog and your kid to Barking Dog Alehouse for Euro 2012 games. A warm little space in the northern part of Ballard, Barking Dog's freshened up pub fare includes tofu fries with chili dipping sauce and the beautiful "cheesy pleasures" plate with tart apples, prosciutto, spiced walnuts, fatty brie, goat cheese, and bread to smear it all on.
5 WEST SEATTLE
Like its Burien and Lake City counterparts, Elliot Bay's West Seattle location is large enough to accommodate swarms of parents and children. There are televisions in most corners of the room, making it easy to park in a booth and watch the game from virtually any angle. Instead of just serving burgers and fries, the brewery has a full kids menu, as well as a respectable variety of salads and lighter fare.