Jerusalem’s bar scene comes alive as World Cup ramps up

Soccer fever is sweeping the world, and Jerusalem is no exception.

July 11, 2018 17:15
2 minute read.
Celebrating the World Cup in the shadow of the Old City's Tower of David

Celebrating the World Cup in the shadow of the Old City's Tower of David. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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The flags of the World Cup’s participating countries stretch across the liquor cabinets at Dublin Irish Pub on Ben Yehuda street. Men and women fill every table and barstool. Most have their hands on a beer, and all have their eyes on a television.

Soccer fever is sweeping the world, and Jerusalem is no exception. Dublin Irish Pub was an excellent example of that for France’s 1-0 victory over Belgium in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday night.

Jerusalem is an interesting scene for watching the World Cup. Bars near the central Mahane Yehuda market and on the Ben Yehuda street pedestrian promenade fill up with fans whenever the tournament is on, and have become more crowded as the World Cup marches towards a conclusion.

“The energy surrounding this game has been building up. I knew the atmosphere would be electric. Experiencing such a big game around so many people makes the experience that much better,” said Darren Danowitz, an American college student interning in Jerusalem.

Dublin Bar brought out Americans, locals and fans from both France and Belgium on Tuesday night. The French showing was particularly impressive. Dozens of customers with their faces painted blue, white and red packed the outside space beneath the umbrellas as they cheered on their team while watching the game.

“We are happy that France is here. It’s a good bar to see football because we have a big screen,” said Daniel Colin, a France fan.

People stopped by on the street to watch the game too.

“We got to Jerusalem to see a match in the bar because it’s more sympathetic,” said Laulent Vouellon, who was rooting for France.

The Irish pub promoted the game on Facebook and on municipal broadcast media.

“Sports events like this are tradition in this place,” said Shai Katzir, one of Dublin Irish Pub's owners. “People know we show the game. It’s our fourth World Cup. We show the Champions League and all the events. The crowd is very different. There’s tourists, Americans, people from France. A lot of different kinds of people.”

The Irish pub also had a giveaway. With the purchase of a large beer, customers would receive a scratch-off ticket for a promotional item. Customers walked around the bar with green Carlsberg scarves with a variety of national flags printed on them.

With the World Cup final set for July 15 and the European powers all in the mix, the bars of Jerusalem are sure to fill again for one last showing.

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