For the next 17 days the eyes of the world will be on China for a reason other then human rights violations. In other words, it's the Summer Olympics, that one time every four years you get to care about gymnastics and swimming. For those who couldn’t make it over to China, or didn’t want to deal with the air quality (walk through the Lincoln Tunnel to sample), there are plenty of places here to watch the action...if you're willing to deal with tape delays and a massive time zone difference. Here's a few places, broken down by nationality and events:
If you're from one of these countries, or just like mixing cultures, catch these nationalistic venues:
The Australian (20 W. 38th St. between 5th and 6th Ave., 212-869-8601) doesn’t make it hard to know this is the place for Aussies to gather to watch their great swimming team (even without Ian Thorpe), and gymnasts Daria Joura and Lauren Mitchell. As an added bonus, if the home squad wins a medal, free beers will be handed out...and if it is a gold, they'll throw in a shot of Goldschlager. Australia won 49 medals overall and 17 gold at the last Olympics in Athens, so be prepared to drink. Come by Friday for a huge opening ceremony party.
The Irish may not be known for their athletic prowess, but the Parlour (250 W 86th St. between Broadway and West End Ave., 212-580-8923) at least serves up a good ambience for watching sports, especially soccer. The UWS bar get its games via satellite as well, so it would be a great place to check out soccer games that don’t make it on the TV at home. What else would you expect from the home of the NY Celtic Supporters Club?
Tonic Bar (727 Seventh Ave. at 48th St., 212-382-1059) is known as the Dutch Soccer House, and is where you will find most of the blonde-haired, blued-eyed New Yorkers cheering on their countrymen and women. With three bars over three floors and twenty-five big screen TVs, there's plenty of room to cheer.
If you are looking to watch the United States soccer team (with whatever American soccer fans actually exist) head to Nevada Smiths (74 Third Ave between 11th & 12th Sts., 212-982-2591), which is the official US Soccer Bar and will show all U.S.A. national teams games with full audio.
Everybody else: The Olympic Bar Crawl
If you want to get in as many countries as you can during your Olympic watching experience, then hit up the Olympic Bar Crawl on August 16, starting at 11 a.m.. Olympic fans will enjoy beer from each country and compete in "real" sports like Flip Cup, Beer Pong, Darts, and Pool. Beijing and the opening ceremony will be represented by Sidebar (120 E 15th St between Irving Pl & E Union Sq, 212-677-2900), where you will get Tsingtao beer and Chinese Chicken Wing Specials. Then you make your way through the following…
Belgium - Black Bear Lodge (274 Third Ave. between 21st and 22nd St., 212-253-2178)
England - Telephone Bar (149 Second Ave. at 9th St., 212-529-5000)
USA - Village Pourhouse (64 3rd Ave., at 11th St., 212-979-2337)
Ireland – Patty Maguire's Ale House (237 3rd Ave., between 19th & 20th St., 212-473-8407)
Jamaica - Bar None (98 3rd Ave., at 13th St., 212-777-NONE)
Mexico - Bulls Head Tavern (295 Third Ave., between 22nd & 23rd St., 212-685-2589)
The finish line will be Italy and The Village Pourhouse, offering $3 Peroni's, sausage and pepper specials and $2 "gold medal" cocktails. Tickets are $20 and get you into each bar with no cover, and will allow you to get the $1-3 specials.
Note: The Village Pourhouse will also be hosting a cocktail class with an Olympic theme on August 19th.
If you have no special feelings for any one particular country and just want to get some drinks and watch the games, there are plenty of options. Such as:
Southern Hospitality (1460 Second Ave., at 77th St., 212-249-1001) is offering exactly what its name suggest, at least during the games. Any time the Olympics are on while the place is open (which is pretty much all day), the Justin Timberlake-owned BBQ joint offers $3 domestic drafts, $4 import drafts and $5 well drinks.
District (130 W 46th St. between 6th Ave. and Broadway, 212-485-2999) will serve a special selection of Olympic Cocktails at the restaurant’s “Mini Bar,” appropriately called the Gold, Silver and Bronze cocktails ($13 each).
Inc. Lounge (224 W. 49th St., between 8th Ave and Broadway, 212-320-2984) at the Time Hotel will be holding an Olympic-themed happy hour every weekday starting at 5:00 p.m.
Wildwood Barbeque (225 Park Ave. S., at 18th St., 212-533-2500) serves up multi-regional BBQ like brisket and pulled pork, and exclusively during the duration of the Beijing games, and Olympic Bar Sampler ($20.08 for a platter of chicken wings, potato skins and other fun foods...just like the Olympians eat!).
The Oceans 8 at Brownstone (11 7th Ave. between Park Pl., & Sterling Pl., 718-857-5555) allows you to participate in an actual Olympic sport while watching one: Ping Pong. For the slackers, there's also 30 TVs and 30 pool tables. Whenever a U.S. team is competing, the bar will feature a beer special ($4 Blue Moon pints and $10 pitchers).
Johnny Utah’s (25 West 51st St., at Rockefeller Pl., 212-265-UTAH) features a competition that should be an Olympic event (mechanical bull rides), and will also be showing the games on each of their 150-inch HDTVs.