Thursday, 24 June 2010

Germany V Ghana: The Ultimate World Cup Pub (bar & restaurant) Crawl

By Anna Robin

My first thought as I walk in to Stein’s temporary bar is, “Will they know I am not German?”

My second thought is “I would not like to be here during a Germany v England match.”

Luckily, I’m here for the Germany v Ghana game, so I’m safe from being maliciously deafened by German vuvuzelas.

Stein’s Bavarian beer garden has, for the World Cup, rented out a boathouse at Teddington Lock. They have filled it with long tables, benches, sauerkraut and Germans. It feels like being transported to a beer hall in Munich. It’s hot, it’s noisy, it’s really, really fun.

We manage to arrive late, mistakenly going to the permanent Stein’s beer garden up the road. When we get there, the game is in full swing. We grab some Erdinger Weissbier (wheat beer) and sausages and pretzels and go squeeze ourselves on the benches.

As soon as I sit on the bench a German man leans forward and says something in German. When he gets no response from me he tries again in English, “Did you order two sausages because I only got one?” Allaying his sausage envy, I explain that I gestured for two sausages and he settles down, slightly mollified. The food is tasty, I feel very German with my meat and bread, perfect food for watching a rowdy game.

The game seems aggressive; I am pretty confused as the commentary is in German. However, I rely on the noise around me. When Ghana comes close to scoring on 50 minutes, there are literally screams of anguish. At 58 minutes a slow clap starts to push Germany on and apparently they can hear it in South Africa because 59 minutes in, Germany scores. The room erupts. People stand, cheer, clap, and shout. There’s nothing to do but join in.

It’s free to get in to most matches apart from the German games where Stein’s are charging £5 entry but it is worth it for the atmosphere. After watching the England game in a pub earlier it is a great experience for a twist on watching the World Cup. Stein’s is a riot. You just have to go and throw yourself in. My only criticism is the obscene amount of head on the beers, but that’s continentals for you!

Germany wins, for the match itself and the match watching experience.

[Editor: Those wishing to see the England v Germany game on Sunday must email with their phone number to obtain an invitation first]

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