So many bars, so many teams ... and all those broken dreams
From around the middle of June, people will be turning up at work bleary-eyed and yawning. Whilst this may be par for the course for the employees at The Copenhagen Post, for hardcore football fans it can only mean one thing – it’s World Cup time again!
Is it really only four years ago since the last World Cup graced the screens of Copenhagen pubs – when The Danish Dynamite went off like a damp squib against the Japanese, while the plucky English made it 44 years of hurt by going out with a whimper, not a bang, against the Germans?
Spain versus the Netherlands in the final should have been a pure football masterclass, but 14 yellow cards and 46 fouls later, the Spanish emerged bloody but victorious.
No Denmark this year, which is a pity as the big screens all over town lend a festive atmosphere to the occasion. But anyway, it’s not like the Danes aren’t going to be out on the town watching games, and here are some ideas for making it through the group stage in one piece and finding your favourite pub for the knockout round.
Football’s (probably not) coming home
Uruguay v England; Thu 19 June, 21:00; Osborne’s bar, Elmegade, Cph N or The Irish Rover, Vimelskaftet 46, 1161 K;
19 June, 21:00; theirishrover.dk
England’s second game of the tournament (the first, against Italy on Saturday June 14, starts at the unholy hour of 12am) and their great unwashed expat element will be making their presence felt in the pubs of Copenhagen. The far from ostentatious Osborne’s bar in Nørrebro is often quite a lively place.
Impromptu kazoo renditions of the theme tune to The Great Escape have resounded around the modestly-sized pub in previous tournaments.
Otherwise a grander pub like The Irish Rover downtown is always a good bet to get a crowd rocking to lyrics like ‘Three lions on a shirt’ while tucking into a pre-match big rambling rover burger deal from Ma Farrelly’s kitchen.
Kickabout or walkabout?
Australia v Netherlands; Southern Cross, Løngangstræde 37, Cph K; Wed 18 June, 18:00; southerncross.dk
In the shadows of Copenhagen City Hall is the Southern Cross, which has been home to different bars for at least 100 years.
This sports-crazy bar has TVs at every turn, both upstairs and down under in the basement, showing football, cricket, rugby and Aussie rules.
While the Aussies are unlikely to rule in Brazil, there is bound to be a good-humoured atmosphere as the Socceroos aim to waltz through the qualifying stages – and plenty of Toohey’s, Foster’s and Bundy rum to drown your sorrows under the shade of a coolibah tree.
Let’s go Dutch
Netherlands v Spain; The Globe, Nørregade 43, Cph K; Fri 13 June, 21:00; the-globe.dk
The atmospheric Globe, a packet of cheese ‘n’ onion’s throw from Nørreport station, is one of Copenhagen’s busiest watering holes and always a popular place to watch the beautiful game – indeed you could quite easily spend the whole World Cup perched precariously upon a Globe barstool.
In the continued absence of the boys in green, the Globe in recent years has had the courage to go Dutch for the big events and will once again be hoping that the Orange squash the opposition.
The kitchen will be serving Dutch delicacies such as bitter balls (bitterballen) as a tasty snack together with matchday deals on Grolsch.
Might get Messi
Argentina v Iran; Holbergsgade 14, Cph K; Sat 21 June, 18:00; fuego.dk
Oddly enough the official sport of Argentina is pato, played on horseback with a six-handled ball. Handling the ball is also an Argentinian tradition and while the Hand of God may be a fading World Cup memory, you’ll be in good hands at the Argentinian restaurant Fuego.
Juan loves his football and plans to show the games with a South American flavour – perhaps in the lounge with a glass or two of Malbec before guests enjoy a sumptuous beef tenderloin.
France v Honduras; L’education nationale, Larsbjørnstræde 12, Cph K; Sun 15 June, 21:00; leducation.dk
This normally laid-back Parisian café has been dishing out Gallic charm in the Pisserenden district of Copenhagen for more than two decades – its Bastille Day street party has now become an unmissable event.
For the Coupe du Monde, it’s allez les bleus as the café unfurls the tricoleur and swaps Bourgogne for Kronenbourg, hoping for a repeat of 1998 when the FIFA trophy came to stay for a thorough French polishing.
USA v Germany; Bernstorffsgade, Cph K; Thu 26 June, 18:00; olearys.dk
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name – and while there’s no guarantee of that at O’Leary’s, Denmark’s biggest sports bar, it tries its very best to bring a Boston Cheers-like atmosphere to Copenhagen.
A popular NFL haunt – the Superbowl was a sell-out this year – it might not be a bad spot to root for team USA and enjoy the creatively named Pelé burger and ‘Girl from Ipanema’ chicken salad. Booking a table is advised.
Nuts about Brazil
Brazil v Croatia; Café Sabor da Minha Terra, Strandlodsvej 69, Cph S; Thu 12 June, 22:00; see Facebook page
You’ve probably already joyfully shimmied and samba’d your way through Copenhagen Carnival and if you’re still waxing lyrical about all things Brazilian, then one of the best places to watch the boys from Brazil is at the Café Sabor da Minha Terra, which may be a bit off the beaten track in Amager, but is the undisputed home of the Brazilian community in Copenhagen.
Germany v Portugal; Berlin Bar, Gammelkongevej 147, Frederiksberg; Mon 16 June, 18:00; berlin-bar.dk
Berlin Bar in Frederiksberg, with 140 bottled German beers and 13 on tap, is first and foremost a beer enthusiast’s wet dream and in the running for the 2014 AOK best beer bar award. Fortunately the owners are passionate in equal measures about their German football and beer.
Belgium v Algeria; Café Guldhornene, Vestergade 20, Cph K; Tue 17 June, 18:00; cafeguldhornene.dk
The Belgians could be one of the tournament’s dark horses and capable of taking the mannequin pis, but that might not be enough for them to be a crowd-puller.
The down-to-earth Cafe Guldhornene is a popular haunt with Danish Chelsea fans and the Eden Hazard connection might be enough to provide a bit of Belgian interest.
The Italian Job
Italy v Costa Rica; Studiestræde 39, Cph K; Fri 20 June, 18:00; kroelben.dk
Home of the Danish AS Roma fanclub, the law student hangout Café Krølben has an affinity the Azzurri so this might be a good place to watch Italy.
The bar is named after Danish football legend Sophus ‘Krølben’ Nielsen who stuck 10 goals in the old onion bag in 1908 against France at the Olympics in a 17-1 win. Bet that handy snippet of information will come in useful at a pub quiz one day!
Spain v Australia; Den Glade Gris, Lille Kannikestræde 3, Cph K; Mon 23 June, 18:00; dengladegris.dk
In the absence of Danish interest, Den Glade Gris (The Happy Pig), voted Copenhagen’s sports bar of the year in 2013, is siding with Spain and England.
This is an open-all-hours, football-crazy bar, also known for its stand-up comedy nights and for backing the red devils of Manchester United, who in all fairness were a pretty good comedy act themselves this season.
The games are also being shown outdoors in the backyard with half-price deals on beer.
Scotland vs England; Amagertorv 5, Cph K; not this year; thedubliner.dk
While many of the pubs will be filled with overly-optimistic England fans in outdated shirts that barely fit their ale-addled bodies, we should not forget that a fair proportion of British fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of England going home early and hopefully humiliating themselves in the process.
The World Cup is always poorer without Scotland’s madcap kilted tartan army, but perhaps in Gus Brown’s Dubliner you can relive classic memories of 1978 and cheerfully clink whisky glasses when England inevitably make it 48 years of hurt.