Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Uruguay V Mexico: The Ultimate World Cup Pub (bar & restaurant) Crawl

By Christian Rose-Day

It’s getting serious from here on out. It must be; the early 12.30pm games have all disappeared, and I’m wearing a collared shirt. It’s heating up. Quite literally. The area around Liverpool Street is 4000 degrees today. It’s positively sweltering. Nothing the Mexicans and the Uruguayans can’t handle though, I’m sure.

Myself and our Becs have decided to cool off in the shade of the Andaz Hotel Champagne Bar. A bit of posh with our Latin American football. Dark wooden panelling, large windows to stare out of if the game gets boring, a walk-around bar dead centre, subtle flag decoration, small marble-top tables, and most importantly, a big 60-inch TV with its own stand.

We’ve heard there’s a few interesting deals going on here, depending on your country of origin. For all Japanese passport holders there’s a complementary Asahi and sushi, as well as 12 Asahi for the price of 10. Italian passport holders get a shot of Limoncello every time Italy score (unlikely), and some complimentary cured meat. If you’re French, it’s a small glass of French wine and French cheeses. And Americans: a shot of Jack Daniels and free mini burger.

Today, we’re honourary Mexicans, so it’s a free shot of tequila when Mexico score and some complimentary nachos with guacamole. Only today, the kitchen has run out of avocado. So instead, we order chunky chips with sour cream (a bit steep at £5 a ride, and needing more salt) and garlic tiger prawns on skewers with chilli mayonnaise, which are nicely nice.

The drinks menu is impressive, including the likes of a £1000 bottle of 1966 Dom Perignon Oenotheque (a good Cup winning vintage), 20 different rosé champagnes, and oysters from both Loch Fyne and Colchester Rock. I choose the £12, exceedingly manly Cherry Blossom Champagne cocktail and Becs is having the Champagne Mojito Royale, which is, apparently, “refreshing after a long cycle ride. And going down well.”

The chap behind the bar is confident about Mexico’s chances. He’s poured our tequila shots already. There’s only one true Mexican in the room. He’s wearing a proper straw hat and a Mexican shirt. But no Lucha Libre wrestling mask though. Disappointing.

5th minute - Uruguay skim the post.

6th minute - Mexico do the same. This is end to end stuff.

21st minute - long range beauty of a shot from Dos Santos that hits the post. It’s getting exciting now. There’s a crowd growing. We’re joined by some interested Americans who are cheering Mexico as well.

26th minute - In the other game of the day, it’s all gone Pete Tong for France. Gourcuff has been sent off against South Africa.

43rd minute - Suarez for Uruguay, easy header. 1-0.

At half time I take a tactical loo break and sneak into The George, the Andaz pub next door, to see what is happening in the other game. There’s a much bigger screen in there and a lot more interest in the game. 10-men France are losing to the hosts 2-0 already. Ouch!

63rd minute - Mexico miss a shocker. A header from about 30cms out. Cue comments about “My Nan could....” Time for more cocktails. The heartburn-inducing (a good sign) Lush for me, and the Exoctic Fig’ure champagne Innocent smoothie for her.

Not much else happens in the game from there. A couple of stereotypical Aussie chaps are sat with their backs to the game drinking beers, in a champagne bar, making full use of their swearing vocabulary. The Evening Standard chap outside is beginning to get rather annoying too. I cant hear the vuvuzelas on the TV because of him.

A quick check at The George and France have lost 2-1. Mexico lose 1-0 but still manage to go through to the knockout phase. Our tequila shots are sadly left standing when we leave.

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