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BAR REVIEW: FEVER PITCH, FULHAM BROADWAY

A World Cup pop up bar simply shouldn’t work – but kudos to Fulham’s Fever Pitch for pulling it off (although their talents don’t quite extend to ensuring an England victory)

The last time I was in Brasa – the private member’s club above Fulham’s Broadway Bar & Grill pub – Wimbledon 2013 was on. It was a quiet, balmy afternoon as I had a rather pleasant lunch in the company of one man and his dog (OK, not literally, but you get the idea). The big screen was on and little did we know that, two weeks later, Britain would have a Wimbledon champion once again.

Fast forward to 19 June, 2014, and there’s a very different atmosphere in the Broadway Bar & Grill. In fact, for a month, it’s not even being called that: Fever Pitch is a World Cup pop up venue offering football fans the ideal place to take in the beautiful game. It’s something that sounds like it shouldn’t work, but credit to the people behind this place as they somehow pull it off.

Tonight’s action saw England facing Uruguay in a crucial must-win game in the World Cup group stages. Early on there were queues of fans eager to get in, but once in place Fever Pitch almost resembled that great Carlsberg ad of the perfect football pub: 13 big screens, 4 bars, 3 floors, 2 roof terraces and 1 great, big love in for England. Reserving our space, my group had a great view of the game, but the most amazing thing was the almost regimented, organised queuing system to get to the bar. Never have I seen that in a pub this busy.

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Bobby Moore lifts the trophy in 1966: it’s fair to say we probably won’t see Steven Gerrard do the same in 2014

The food on offer covers all your footie watching requirements – burgers, hot dogs and smaller bites like nachos – and the table service was patient and efficient, something that never waned as the night wore on and the clientele were a little more eager to stock up on their liquid intake. The atmosphere was terrific, too, even when things weren’t going England’s way – again, that’s something of a rarity in my many years of pain and despair of watching the Three Lions (and I still don’t know the name of the chap I hugged joyously when Rooney swept home our only goal).

The outcome wasn’t what was desired – a 2-1 defeat that pretty much sent England home – but top marks to a place that has pulled off a difficult trick to master. Good food, extensive drinks selection and attentive staff, plus no issues with being able to see the game, equals a top night out. And there was still some connection to that first visit of mine a year ago: supporting England and watching us disappoint again is almost like a private member’s club in itself.

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13 screens ensure you won’t miss any of the action

 474-476 Fulham Broadway SW6 1BY; 020 7610 3137; broadwaybandg.co.uk/feverpitch2014

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