There is no disputing that the NBA Finals are huge, colossal, epic—in the United States. It's equally true that for the rest of the world, the end of this year's NBA playoffs is just a footnote to the finals that really matter: the World Cup. But there's no need to clash over our differences with the rest of the world; in fact, we should revel in them. For the first time in the U.S., every single World Cup game will be shown live on national TV starting tomorrow, and for the first time in Dallas, there's a reason to watch every single game of the NBA Finals starting tonight. Fierce local loyalty and fierce national pride can coexist—really, they can. Thanks to the rotation of the earth, the World Cup games are in the morning here and the Mavs games are at night. After the Mavs crush Miami, the international spectacle of the World Cup will still have weeks to go. Even while both are on, none of the U.S. national team's games fall on the same day as an NBA game, so you can catch the primetime soccer rebroadcast in tranquility.
Or catch it in complete pandemonium, if you prefer; to mark the first year of complete live coverage of the World Cup, some soccer-friendly bars are opening for every game, even those that start at 8 in the morning--or, a whole hour after it's legal for bars in Dallas to start serving booze. (They have to wait till noon on Sundays...or 10 a.m., if you're having "breakfast.") Of course, at that early hour, Unfair Park endorses the drinking only of coffee, especially if you're trying to catch the full schedule (hope you've got a month of sick days saved up). Here's an overview of venues likely to have the best atmosphere:
Londoner 14930 Midway Road, Addison, (972) 458-2444 One big projection screen, two big-screen TVs and one high-definition TV. The bar will be open for every game with nation-appropriate beer specials and FC Dallas ticket raffle.
Trinity Hall 15321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 250, Dallas, (214) 887-3600 One big-screen projection TV inside, two on the patio, weather permitting. The bar will be open for every game, with a full Irish Breakfast menu starting at 10 a.m.
Ben's Half-Yard 7102 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, (214) 363-1114 Three projection TVs, seven other TVs and, of course, couches. Ben's opens early for all U.S. games, and after 11 a.m. for all others.
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Verizon Wireless Club at Pizza Hut Park 6000 Main St. (at Dallas Parkway), Frisco, (214) 705-6700 Thirty (yes, 30) 42-inch plasma TVs, plus the two 20-foot Jumbotrons in the stadium. The park's ppen for every game with free Krispy Kreme doughnut and wireless Internet access, for those who feel the need to work. --Rick Kennedy