Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Netherlands V Denmark: The Ultimate World Cup Pub (bar & restaurant) Crawl

By Rebecca Brett

When I first heard that I was going to Ronnie Scott’s to do a review I thought jazz hands, big brass bands, amazing American vocalists. I did not think football. But off I trotted this morning to watch the Group E match between the Netherlands and Denmark with my leggy blonde model friend.

When it comes to football I’d like to think I know a thing or two, I support a London team, I know the players, I know the offside rule and I’m generally excited about watching as many World Cup games as possible this summer. My friend; not so much. At half time Gareth Southgate did some commentary, she asked who he was. I told her and then asked if she remembers that dreadful penalty at Euro ‘96. She asked what a penalty was. Enough said.

Just like me, the leggy blonde loves a delicious lunch which means it doesn’t matter if she had no interest in the game, as long as we can have a catch up during it and eat something, she’s happy. So we get there and Ronnie’s Bar (the one upstairs that is showing the football) isn’t quite open yet so we have a gander around the downstairs area. It looks amazing there and after promising to go back and watch some of the incredible talent that plays there every week we head upstairs.

We can hear the football as we ascend the stairs, we’re ready for lager louts getting their places at the bar early, eager Dutch and Dane fans picking the best tables and praying that the noise of Vuvuzela that is echoing in the hallway is only on the TV and there aren’t any ardent trumpeting fans making all the racket.

There is no one else there, just the two of us, the big screen, the bar and a friendly waiter. If this was a night time match I would have thought it weird, made my excuses and probably left but I thought while the rest of the country are probably settling in to lunch at their desks I am lucky enough to be watching the match. It was like being at home with a good friend and a butler waiting on us.

We ordered some cocktails, took a seat and settled in to the game. The Netherlands look to have the majority of the possession but at half time it’s 0-0. We order a selection of things to share for lunch including olives, my favourite at any time of the day - bread and olive oil, a courgette and red onion tart, Caesar salad and some pitta with tzatziki and hummous. I told you we like lunch.

The next half started and Agger scores an own goal, the leggy blonde is in the toilet. I cheer to myself.

After a small wait, lunch arrives looking beautifully presented and tastes divine, especially the bread and olive oil. Honestly you can’t beat it, saying that, you can’t go wrong with it either. We manage to clear all the plates just in time to see Liverpool’s Kuyt scores the second goal for the Netherlands and the whole pub arena goes wild. We have a little cheer together.

The games ends and then the jazz music that has made Ronnie’s Bar famous comes on. Ronnie Scott’s might not be famous for it’s football but I would recommend the bar, even if it’s for a bite to eat at lunch time, try to make it a long lunch and catch up with the matches at the same time. At least you will have a good view of the game.

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