A reasonably thorough inspection of soccer pubs and restaurants in San Francisco and Berkeley over the past ten days reveals that while there may be more people supporting the English and Mexican soccer teams in the Bay Area there is nobody having as much fun as the Brazilians.

On Sunday the Brazilian World Cup team once again gave its fans a reason to dance (as if they need an excuse) with a 3-1 trouncing of Cote d’Ivoire. Of the several places in the Bay Area which are hosts for Brazilian fans this time we chose Martin Macks on Haight St. in San Francisco. You might ask yourself how an Irish pub has become a place to samba….

So we have Thierry Henry and FIFA to thank. What a way to convert the Irish mourning and outrage at being cheated out of the World Cup into something positive that we all get to share. In addition, the pub burned down less than two years ago so we’re lucky it’s here at all. This is a review shortly after it re-opened.

On this perfect San Francisco Sunday the seats were gone 30 minutes before the match and most of the standing room taken by the national anthem, as you can see.

The kitchen and floor staff did an excellent job of getting food and drink to the mob, no easy task. There were plenty of TV screens, flags everywhere, and even a samba band at halftime and after the match. There is nothing like a room full of happy people doing the samba to make you want to move and to remind you to make sure that at least part of life be a party.

Brazil’s next match is Friday against Portugal, the match soccer fans have been waiting for since the first round groupings were announced. Brazil is ranked first in the world and Portugal is third – it’s unusual for two highly-ranked teams to be in the same group so expect a great match. Play hooky.

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