Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Chile V Switzerland: The Ultimate World Cup Pub (bar & restaurant) Crawl

By Anna Robin

It goes like this.

Three World Cup football games; three days: three different venues.

One football innocent, no preconceptions, no understanding of sport whatsoever (that’s me).

One football fan, a guide, mainly someone to explain the offside rule.

The mission: to learn all there is about football and to eat and drink casually along the way.

And so it begins.

The first of my three venues is the Roxy Bar & Screen on Borough High Street. The match is Switzerland v Chile. I am rooting for Chile. The screen showing the football is against the window at the front of the Roxy and I am easily distracted by the sunshine I can see outside, maybe we should wonder off and find a park and ice cream van?

I go for a little look around the venue. The match is being shown at the front during the day because the rear is, at the time, being taken up by the bar school that they run. However, it looks like a good place to catch a film or the evening football match, when I’m sure it’s much busier. There’s lots of casually cool mismatched furniture to lounge on while screaming at the screen.

All the dark red and black, which is the basis of the Roxy decor, makes it rather a dark hang out for the middle of the day. I order an interesting dark wheat beer (an Erdinger Dunkel, to be exact) and start to pay attention.

They’re off. “Chile are playing very well today,” I say, with the supreme confidence of a 27-minute football aficionado, “the ball is always by the Swiss goal”.

My companion - who is creating a detailed analysis of the game using cutlery, saltshakers and his own fingers - nods approvingly. I am enjoying myself.

By half time I am starting to get aggressive, no one has scored. I wave my beer glass in rage but food is placed in front of me and all is well again. I have a really tasty grilled chicken burger with a side order of halloumi (a good combination); a nice plate of food and large portions. They are doing cheap burgers and chips for their lunchtime footie games, as well.

Post half time and the game heats up, Chile scores but it’s deemed off side (something I now understand). Ten minutes later the ref goes card crazy, seems to book everyone in sight. The commentators start getting sarky, “Can we, err, have a game of football?”.

Finally play begins again and with 15 minutes to go Chile finally scores. The bar erupts, well the 6 Chilean supporters erupt, and then clearly due to being in England too long, apologise for being noisy and getting in the way of the screen. It’s tense, will Switzerland make a comeback? They don’t.

Hurruh 1 – 0 to Chile.

The Roxy is a relaxed football venue, doesn’t have the crowds during the day if you want a quiet afternoon match, and does have good beer if you want good beer.

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