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Ethnic NY cafes draw World Cup fans but defeat hits cash register

By Michael Y. Park

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Watching your team go down in the World Cup is devastating for any soccer fan, but for restaurants that identify themselves with a particular country, a World Cup defeat can mean a loss of business.

"The last two games Spain played, it was a full house," Lolo Manso, owner of La Nacional on 14th Street in Manhattan said on Monday. "And today, it's an empty house."

Spain is dead last in the World Cup's Group B, and the hundred or so who flocked to the restaurant and bar for early matches just don't seem to have the heart to come back for Monday's game to witness a foregone conclusion, he said.

"You go in with high spirits, and after that, you want to forget as soon as possible," he said. "You want to get out and do something else. Maybe see psychologists - we are very depressed."

For Apostolos Dalleras, manager of French bistro Bar Tabac, focal point of Bastille Day celebrations in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, following the French team means being prepared for its infamous ups and downs.

Les Bleus collapsed spectacularly in 2002 and 2010. But defeat has a silver lining.

"They lose their appetite," Dalleras said of disappointed French fans. "But after a few beers, they grab a burger and some fries. Lots of beers, lots of shots, lots of champagne - people drink to drown the pain."

Sometimes turning a loss into a win can be as simple as switching flags. At Miss Korea BBQ in Koreatown, the 300 fans who packed the place melted away after South Korea's 4-2 loss against Algeria on Sunday afternoon, leaving glasses of soju - Korean vodka - as empty as their hopes of advancing.

"When the game ended, they all just left," waitress Clara Choi said. "But then another group came in - to watch the U.S. game."

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jim Loney)

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