Friday, 11 June 2010

Kick-off party: The Ultimate World Cup Pub (bar & restaurant) Crawl


By Cat McGovern

T minus one day until the mighty World Cup starts and the best way to get prepared for such a momentous event, is to pop along to private member’s club Raffles for their World Cup themed party. As soon as the bouncers cross your name off the hard to get on list, you are instantly handed a football shaped whistle which you instinctively put around your neck and start tooting away like a crazy referee. I make my way to the main section of the club and am greeted by a Pulp Disco 2000 multicoloured lit up dance floor and I immediately want to dance around my handbag and imitate the video. Fortunately my friend stops me and hands me a champagne cocktail instead. Aptly called ‘Golden Balls’, (did you see what they did there?), it goes down a treat with all the punters and especially me. A blend of guava, champagne and vodka, with a raspberry on the side, it certainly hits the spot.

Everyone has really got into the spirit of the beautiful game tonight with mini hot dogs and pizza canap├ęs and the staff wearing football shirts and some even in full kit. The girl bar staff wear pink t-shirts saying ‘WAG in training’; how charming and unfortunately true as Raffles is filled with wannabe WAG’s. There’s even an ice sculpture resembling the World Cup trophy placed sensibly next to the DJ booth. Raffles it seems has everything covered.

Upstairs is the VIP area where there are plasmas to watch the matches, but we’re told we can’t go up and have a peak as James Blunt is occupying the area and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Not wanting to annoy the Blunt, I move swiftly on.

I find it odd hearing the national anthem echoing around the venue, but it all becomes clear when they whip out a guy who does ridiculous freestyle football moves around the dance floor. As I am in awe and taking pictures of him, I notice that I am standing next to David Beckham. Not really, it’s his look-a-like, but the way girls were swarming to him, you’d think he was the real deal. I take a photo, as this is the closest I’ll ever get to meeting Beckham, and he gets out his bottle of Grey Goose, gesticulates for us to come closer, and pours it on the ice sculpture and gets us to drink off it. Who knew that Beckham was such a party dude, the trainee WAG’s are impressed by this and fall at his feet with adoration. Not wanting to get in the way, I leave them to it.

I begin to feel a bit jealous of the table next to me with their many bottles of spirits, so I open the menu to see how much said Grey Goose would be; the answer - £220. This is definitely a place where you buy your spirits by the bottle instead of by the glass. When a server comes over and asks if I would like one, I politely say that I am fine and continue with my Golden Balls. Once I have finished that, I feel it’s time to go. I excitedly blow my whistle as I walk down the street to get my cab and am completely confident about England’s chances in the tournament. How do I know? Beckham told me!

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