Saturday, 19 June 2010

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

By Faye Armstrong

What better place to watch the World Cup than in a beerhouse? What better place to watch Germany play in the World Cup than in a Bavarian Beerhouse?

The Tower Hill venue of the Bavarian Beerhouse (there’s also one on City Road) was where I watched possibly the most exciting game of the World Cup yet, and I had been prepared for it. Pre-match I was informed by my male friend that Serbia were by no means going to be an easy feat for Germany (like I had so ignorantly assumed), that they had Man United’s Vidic and Birmingham City’s 6”8 star Zigic to contend with. Apparently. It meant about as much to me as nuclear physics but it sounded accurate and informative so I trusted my mate on this one. Turns out he was right.

Come to think of it, not much made sense to me in those two short hours during the match. For one thing, being in a Bavarian Beerhouse during a Germany game meant the match was been shown in German. For another, about 90% of the people inside were from Germany and my German only stretches as far as ‘wie gehts’ and so after learning that the crowd were feeling ‘gut’ I was lost. What I did understand, however, was the beer menu. I could get a ½ pint, pint or a uber huge two-pints-in-one-glass monster. Fearing that beast would only worsen my lack of understanding, I went for the single pint.

Drinking German beer (Krombacher Pils and Warsteiner, if you’re interested) and sitting on the long, shared wooden benches gave a sense of unity. This may not have been the case had Germany been playing England. Then the unity may have seemed divided.

I may not have understood the German but I knew what all the whooping, yelling and groaning meant. Germany have scored. Hollering aplenty. It’s offside. Hands banging the tables.

I’m relying on my man mate to fill me in with what’s happening. Why is everyone cheering? The score still shows 0-0. Germany made a ‘good hustle’ apparently. I reply that a ‘good goal’ would be better.

Averting my eyes from one of the many screens (they’re everywhere, no matter where you’re sat or stood you’ll not miss a thing), I notice that while the place definitely has a distinct German feel to it – my friend quipped that he’d never been to Germany but that this is what he imagines it would be like – there are one or two questionable design choices. Like the crystal chandeliers and the pink, sparkly dear head mounted on the wall. Why? But then again, does there have to be a reason? Why were the Spice Girls ever allowed to form? There are many unanswerable questions so I’ll let these few small oddities go.

Klose has just got his second yellow card. That means it’s a red and he’s off. Germany are down to 10 men, and without a striker. Serbia takes their opportunity to score, 1-0 Serbia. I notice an increase in two pint beers being given out by the lovely waitresses all wearing German shirts. I’m informed it’s just for the German games, all of which are already booked up, as are the England games and when I ask what will happen if Germany come up against England the manager looks pained and informs me it’s his nightmare. Only Germans allowed if this should happen. I tell him I think it’s for the best.

Germany have a penalty. It’s their time to shine and change the result to a draw. They miss. I feel for the hoards of people in the beerhouse, I really do, only a slight smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. It’s nice to know that Germany can miss a penalty. ‘Nuff said. Final score 1-0 to Serbia.

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