Home supporters orient towards things Japanese


Geisha girls, saki and platters of sushi will be used to entice soccer fans to a variety of World Cup celebrations being held in venues across the country.

Staff will wear kimonos for the Japanese-themed events while publicans are already stocking up on oriental delicacies in anticipation of the crowds that will flock to watch Ireland's matches on the big screen.

In Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Mr Denis McLafferty of McLafferty's Bar confirmed sushi would be on the menu for the first match against Cameroon at 7.30 a.m. on Saturday.

"It might be a bit early in the morning for raw fish, but we think it will go down well," he said.

In Cafe en Seine in Dawson Street, Dublin, fans can expect special Japanese-themed menus and state-of-the-art visuals.

"We have never had a TV in here before, but we are pulling out all the stops and see it as providing a service to our customers," said Mr Peter Kinsella.

Despite the hype, the licensing laws are expected to put off some publicans from opening on Saturday for the early match against Cameroon.

"Can you imagine a bar full of football supporters with no alcohol?" said one Co Sligo bar owner who doesn't plan to open. "Still, I think a lot of others will let people in and then turn a blind eye to the drinking. You can hardly serve them milk."

Because of the early start, some pubs will have a cover charge for the Cameroon match, but will drop this for the German and Saudi Arabian games which will kick off later in the morning on June 5th and 11th. The Submarine Bar, a famous sporting hostelry in Crumlin, Dublin, is charging €15 for non-alcoholic champagne, breakfast and music and advises fans to arrive early to avoid disappointment.

The "early houses" which serve from 7 a.m. will be in a position to satisfy those fans who demand beer with their McAteer.

At The Docker's pub on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin, barman Mr Martin O'Neill said its early licence had not been used for about 20 years, when dockers and sailors availed of it.

"We don't really know how many people to expect but we are going to lay on some food, because I don't feel good about serving pints to people with empty stomachs," he said.

Some publicans said they were not expecting as much interest in the matches since the departure of the Ireland skipper. "It will be pointless without Roy Keane," said Mr Shane O'Neill of An Tobairín in Bantry, Co Cork. "We will show the matches, but there won't be the same hype."

Meanwhile, those wishing to find an oasis from World Cup hysteria should head to Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen, Co Dublin. "We don't plan to show any matches," a staff member said. "It doesn't fit in with what we do here."

To have your venue included in our definitive World Cup What's On Guide, e-mail the details to ringle@irish-times.ie