Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A proper pub, not a sports bar, for the World Cup

The owner of Four Green Fields likes sports, but to him pubs are about talk, laughter, music and drink. So you won’t find any televisions here — usually.

LUIS SANTANA | Times (2010) 

The owner of Four Green Fields likes sports, but to him pubs are about talk, laughter, music and drink. So you won’t find any televisions here — usually.

Four Green Fields, Colin Breen's Irish pub at the edge of downtown Tampa, is as authentic as any you might wander into for a pint in County Clare.

Thatched roof atop, warm pubby feel inside, corned beef and cabbage on the menu, traditional music onstage. Notable sports jerseys from different parts of Ireland hang from the rafters, and there's even a soccer ball from the '94 World Cup when Ireland was in it. (More on the Cup in a minute.)

Breen is persnickety even about the proper temperature of the fat brown Guinnesses they pour for the downtown lawyers and college hipsters who fill the well-worn stools. The city's very-Irish mayor has been known to tip a glass here.

In short, this is not the place into which a neophyte might wander on St. Paddy's Day for a foamy Bud Light dyed kelly green. Or for a bevy of flat-screens blaring the day's big football, basketball or baseball games. Or for a single TV off in a quiet corner even, just to check a score.

Breen Does. Not. Do. TV. Here. He likes sports as much as the next guy, he says, but to him this is counter to what pubs are supposed to be about: talk, laughter, music and drink.

Which brings us to the World Cup, the international men's soccer championship playing out to millions of fans around the world from Brazil. This is the once-every-four-years showcase of the world's most popular sport — and yes, it is so, no matter how hard an avowed Bucs fan might argue the point.

How fun it is when soccer invades this way. The unfamiliar get a look at what all the fuss is about. The already-diehards — people from other countries to whom this is the only real football, people who have grown up on soccer, fans who love the grace of it, locals with deep Rowdie roots — today, at least, their sport is front and center here.

And on this, even a man with pub-related principles relents.

There is something of the spirit of a pub in the Cup, after all. So during these weeks when balls are kicked across pitches as the world watches, a single big screen fills the Fields' stage normally crowded with musicians. From speakers pours the roar of crowds and whistles of refs. Even during a workday lunchtime match this week, young men stood at the bar European fashion, hoisting pints and watching the Netherlands win. A bald baby sat on his nanny's lap, waving a small soccer ball. (Chile fan — he must have been disappointed.)

Naturally, the two United States games thus far have been standing-room-only. You want excitement, NFL fans? How about that first match in which we scored 32 seconds into the game against Ghana and everyone went wild? Or that heartbreaker where Portugal tied it up in the last seconds? How can a kicked extra point begin to compare?

"It is pretty exciting," Breen says of it all.

The United States plays again Thursday at noon against formidable Germany. I wonder how the rate of hookey-playing will compare to our Yankees spring training games.

Breen has softened in recent years, allowing TV appearances for some other events he deems "related to the pub in some sense" — Irish sports, Premiere League soccer, that sort of thing.

But if this is like World Cups past, when the last seconds of the last game are up, Breen will pull the plug, making it a pub for pub's sake once again.

A proper pub, not a sports bar, for the World Cup 06/24/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.