Irishman's pub opens its doors in Rio

Irishman's pub opens its doors in Rio

ATTEMPTING to explain World Cup fever is a bit like asking an Irish person to define the craic.

It’s a gravity-like force you can’t see or touch, yet it’s everywhere all the time — until mid-July at least.

In some places, though, the pull of World Cup fever is stronger than others.

Cheshire-based barman Ernie Welch, who (usually) runs the Old Star Inn in Winsford, currently wakes up to it every day in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

That’s because Welch recently won McCoy’s crisps’ ‘Put a Pub on a Plane to Rio’ competition.

His prize saw the Old Star recreated 4,000 miles away in Rio, a stone’s throw from its famous beach in the heart of the Samba action.

“I feel like a superstar,” said Welch of the reaction to the bar pitching up in Rio.

The Cheshire boozer’s distinctive pub sign, along with its traditional fireplace, darts board and wooden bar (and some fortunate regulars) all made the trip over to South America in time for the footballing feast.

“It’s been nothing short of phenomenal. I have done more interviews and photo-shoots than John Bishop does in a week,” joked Welch, whose family hail from Roscommon.

The second-generation Irishman’s bar beat competition from more than 2,000 pubs, and the governor has been “living the dream in reality” all month.

Meanwhile there’s been plenty of World Cup fever hitting pubs in Britain too.

Pat Logue, landlord at the Sheephaven Bay in Camden said his bar had been much busier on match nights with Irish regulars rubbing shoulders with international fans.

The Churchill Arms in Kensington estimated takings were up by around 10 per cent.

“Trade has been very good,” said landlord Gerry O’Brien.

“We’ve the whole place decorated inside and out, we’ve got the flags of the different countries flying up high outside and we’re wearing World Cup shirts behind the bar.”

The Clare man said his pub — which has won many awards for its elaborate floral displays — is even being featured during the intro to BBC Two’s Match of the Day World Cup Replay programmes.

The bar is also serving special pints of Two Halves, a gold-hued ale with hops from five different continents, to represent those contesting the all-star event.

It’s gone down a treat and matched the clientele who have been turning out at the pub.

“We’re seeing people from all over the world here,” added O’Brien.

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