If you're one of the millions of people who forgot soccer existed the moment your buzz wore off after the U.S. Women's National Team laid waste to everyone in the 2015 Women's World Cup, then chances are you've rediscovered it these past couple weeks as the 2018 World Cup unfolds. If you're just a casual fan, then you're definitely back on the soccer bandwagon because baseball bores you and your life is so pathetic that you need a reason to drink beer at 6 a.m. Memphis is fortunate enough to have two great Irish pubs in Celtic Crossing and The Brass Door, the latter of which I visited last week to get back on the soccer bandwagon myself.
The Brass Door is a great place to kick it and watch soccer without actually having to kick anything, which is fantastic for someone like me who would prefer to watch sports without having to participate in them. That being said, I'm the only one who's often actually sitting down at the bar, as everyone else is standing up and pounding fists and hugging people they don't know whenever that one guy with the hair makes a goal, or as announcers spell it, a goooooooooooal. The Brass Door is comprised of two parts: On one side, a stately old bar is the centerpiece of a beautiful room with original checkered floors and tall windows; the other side has more of a sports pub feel, with the main attraction being the multiple TVs. To no one's surprise, my friends and I can most often be found on the grittier side where spilling beer on others isn't as frowned upon.
Seamus Loftus opened The Brass Door just a few years ago, and it has already undergone a bitchin' menu change, courtesy of Patrick and Deni Reilly of Majestic Grille. While I celebrate all of the food there, I'm particularly into the brunch menu because it features a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with beer cheese dip and a sunny-side up egg. If you're watching soccer and drinking beer, there is exactly a zero percent chance you're turning down a grilled cheese with cheese dip and an egg on top of it unless you're vegan or a soulless weirdo.
The whole food menu is as colorful as Seamus' language, which is why I can't repeat most of the conversations I've had with him. I can tell you that he is the type of host to offer your friend who is inexplicably wearing Elton John sunglasses indoors a fine Scotch, served neat, that aforementioned friend drinks as a shot. He is the type of pub owner who is a part of the local soccer community, sponsoring both a recreation league team and a soccer-themed podcast, Round Table of Hooligans, that is recorded at the bar. He's the guy whose soccer analysis you listened to on the Chris Vernon Show during the last World Cup, and he's going to be your new favorite person to talk shop with if you find yourself at his bar.
The World Cup is a sports phenomenon in that it brings everyone together to actively hate on Portugal's national team, which is why you will meet no enemies at The Brass Door, regardless of which side of the establishment you park yourself. The fancier side is bright and inviting; it purrs, "Come, sit at my large wooden bar and order a Smithwick's," which is fantastic if you're popping in for lunch with a friend for a midday beverage. The pub side is darker and more forgiving of those who slept in last night's makeup; it screams, "Hello, yes, hi! Order Jameson and yell about something that happened back in 2009!" Either way, the bartender who most often puts up with my friends and me, Joey, will be there to accommodate you without judgment.
Soccer is rapidly gaining popularity in the U.S. and The Brass Door has contributed to the local rise in interest, often hosting both the Memphis Gooners and American Outlaws Memphis. The World Cup comes to a close this weekend, so I'd suggest joining me in visiting so you can witness the fandom yourself. Next year, for the 2019 Women's World Cup, plan on patronizing an Irish pub. I promise you that no one will be angry when you spray a whole beer on the floor from excitement, Seamus least of all. 152 Madison. 572-1813, thebrassdoor.com