Attention, serious soccer fans (you know who you are): Guarapo in Arlington, Va. (right outside Washington, D.C.) will host viewing parties for each and every match – from the opening to the final – in this year’s FIFA World Cup! That means, instead of screaming yourself hoarse in the privacy of your own basement, you can join fellow travelers at the Latin-themed restaurant/hookah bar and cheer on your teams together.
The 2014 World Cup runs from June 12 to July 13 in 2014, and Guarapo plans to have special draws during each watch party. What can guests expect? Special food and drink offers, jersey-wearing compatriots, an enthusiastic crowd and lots of Manchester United love. (Or Manchester United hate; it goes both ways.)
Guests will line the bar during Guarapo's World Cup watch parties — Photo courtesy of Guarapo
Speaking of food, Guarapo cooks up some of the finest Latin American cuisine around. That means the empanadas – stuffed with beef, chicken, cheese, spinach or spicy chorizo – will be as authentic as the fried plantains accompanying them. And the ceviche sampler – rich with fresh fish and zingy lime – will taste like it was just pulled from the sea.
Of course, if you’re too frazzled from watching yet another zero-to-zero nail-biter of a match, you might also be too worn out to commit to an entrée. In that case, order a few smaller nibbles instead. Yuquitas fritas (crispy yuccas with huancaina cheese sauce) go down easy and won’t leave you too full to curse your team’s loss, and tequenos (golden wonton wraps with queso fresco and guacamole) are delicious enough to make that loss hurt less.
At least a little.
Empanadas play a starring role on Guarapo's Latin-themed menu — Photo courtesy of Guarapo
But what if you’re not really a soccer fan at all and you're just being dragged along by a sports-nut friend? In that case, ignore the TV and explore Guarapo’s hookah bar instead. (True, hookahs – elaborate Middle Eastern water pipes used for smoking tobacco – aren’t exactly synonymous with Latin American restaurants. So what?) Even if you have no desire to smoke, you should still check out the pipes for their unique beauty.
Cooking anticuchos requires audience participation — Photo courtesy of Guarapo
There’s no admission fee to attend the watch parties (although you have to be 21 to enter), and guests are encouraged to wear their favorite team’s jersey. Fans whose teams flame out spectacularly in the opening matches may want to opt for a different shirt at the next party.
Guarapo is located at 2039 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, Va. (just outside D.C.). For more information about the upcoming World Cup watch parties, call (703) 528-6500 or visit www.guarapolounge.com.