Virgen: What are the best places to watch World Cup in Newport-Mesa?

As a councilman and bar and restaurant owner Gary Monahan maintains a hectic schedule. But Thursday figures to be maddening, mainly in terms of business.

World Cup begins, yet Monahan will be interested in more things than just the beautiful game.

His spot, Skosh Monahan's is one of several places in Newport-Mesa to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which begins Thursday at 1 p.m. with host Brazil taking on Croatia. It figures to be a favorite spot for me to visit and take in a game.

Monahan says his bar will open just before noon. But that's not the only event taking place on a crazy Thursday at the bar on Newport Blvd.

At around 3:30 p.m. the bar will feature a commercial taping for the fact the place has the Dodger channel for all you Dodger fans like yours truly.

Monahan encourages fans to show up in their gear to be included in the commercial, which will also include his waitresses in Victoria Secret MLB team T-shirts.

The voiceover of the commercial was done by Mike Villani, a local resident whose broadcast work has included the Winter Olympics.

Monahan said Petter Buffa will also work with the taping of the commercial. Monahan, like any bar owner, wants to have a fun atmosphere depicted in the commercial.

Then later, closer to the evening Monahan will have Cocktails for a Cause at his bar to benefit the UC Irvine Autism Center. Fifteen percent of sales and 100% sale of the gluten free freshman watermelon martini will benefit the center.

Monahan's eldest son, Ethan, 19, is autistic, but Ethan has never used UCI Autism Center. Monahan is simply eager to help with such a great cause and will also have a silent auction with items such as tickets to the Angels game and a foursome play at Costa Mesa Country Club.

Most bar owners are excited about the World Cup season. The Harp Inn owner John Joe Lyons said he has seen Americans take on a greater interest in their home team since last World Cup and he figures there will be plenty of U.S. fans coming to his bar, that is tucked away on 17th Street near Newport Blvd.

Lyons can also smile about the fact that Google seems to be his friend.

When I typed in, "best places to watch World Cup in Newport Beach Costa Mesa," the Harp showed up No. 2 among 287,000 results.

Lyons, who turns 50 next month, says he's well aware the impact social media has been on his business recently. It was easy to get the word out about local music act, "Satisfaction," a Rolling Stones tribute band that packed his small bar Saturday night.

"You can't always get what you want," blared that night, but Lyons begs to differ to the lyrics when it comes to World Cup.

He's ready, and is encouraging fans to wear their home team gear. He wants a stadium atmosphere and has invited representatives from World Soccer Clothing to sell jersey and shirts of World Cup teams at his bar.

Both Lyons and Monahan said they have noticed the uptick in soccer interest among Americans. They believe business is picking up, though many still use the nation's economic downturn as an excuse to succeed.

Monahan said his bar has been good even though he's received great competition with the success of restaurants and bars at Triangle.

I recently visited Costa Mesa 55 Tavern and Bowl and it definitely has a sports-bar feel. The food, however, is not the standard sports-bar type, yet it is excellent.

It appears this column might be one in a series, as I want to take in a World Cup game at the Tavern, or even upstairs at Yardhouse. Of course, on the peninsula, Rudy's remains a hot spot for the greatest sport fans.

As a reader, I hope you would leave a comment on this column online for your favorite spots in Newport-Mesa.

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