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Local bars expect swarms of World Cup fans

The Flyers' loss in the Stanley Cup finals might have hurt the city's morale, but its bars are ready for a quick bounce back.

The Flyers' loss in the Stanley Cup finals might have hurt the city's morale, but its bars are ready for a quick bounce back.

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicking off today, bars across the city are looking forward to a very busy month.

Kristina Vukela, manager at Fado in Center City, said the traditional Irish pub at 15th and Locust streets draws a dedicated crowd of regulars for soccer matches.

"When there's something big going on with U.S. sports, we do play that, but we feed off of all of the soccer," she said. "European sports come first here."

World Cup jerseys hang from the ceiling at the dimly lit bar, representing some of this year's teams. "Saturday we are expecting it to be a massacre," she said of tomorrow's schedule, which includes the U.S. opener against England at 2:30 p.m.

Together, Fado and neighboring Misconduct Tavern are hosting a block party for tomorrow's games.

"We're thinking we're gonna have 1,000 people, maybe 1,500, and 3,000 throughout the course of the day," said Misconduct owner Chris Markham.

The block party will feature an 18-foot outdoor screen for people to watch the games in the street.

Vukela said she hopes Fado makes $40,000 on Saturday alone. "We can pull $30,000 when we are busy, so I think we should be able to hit $40,000," she said.

Even though Fado is Irish-inspired, Vukela said it welcomes all clientele, especially for the World Cup.

"Anyone can come here," she said. "Even if you're a group of four people, we're going to make you feel just as comfortable as if you were a group of 50 people. We're going to have a strong following for all [teams]."

Vukela said she gave her kitchen workers, many of whom are Mexican immigrants, time off to watch their home team open the tournament against host South Africa this morning.

"They're all coming in with their families and their friends and we're doing some kitchen specials for them," she said. "It's just great because everyone gets so into it."

Other ethnic bars around the city are likely to get a spark from the soccer tournament as well.

"We'll be packed every day," said Aimr Ali, manager of Flames House, a Brazilian steakhouse on Bustleton Avenue. "But when Brazil plays, the crowd will be enormous. It'll be too large."

Ali said the restaurant will extend its hours for the World Cup.

Eric Letellier, general manager for the Field House, on Filbert Street near 11th, said his customers will mostly come out for tomorrow's U.S.-England match.

The Field House, which can hold about 400 people, will be fully staffed with 13 bartenders and six security guards, he said.

"It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, but I think we're going to have a real good turn out," he said. "It's really going to help business."