Thursday, June 24, 2010

What A Sport

I headed out to Staten Island the other day to see my beloved Coney Island Cyclones fall to the hated Staten Island Yankees.  Oh well, the day was nice, the food was almost free, and the beer wasn't bad.  They had Blue Moon which is a credible Belgian White style brew, but I couldn't find any Brooklyn Brewery products, even though I saw a couple of their signs.

After the game I stopped at the nearby Ruddy And Dean.

Ruddy And Dean

Having already filled up on "free" (well, included in the price of the ticket) food at the game I was able to resist ordering here.  They do have a display of aged beef, and a few people were chowing down on tasty looking steaks.  I just sidled up to the bar and tried to blend in with the crowd as I had a Margarita with neon-green radioactive looking salt.

Just Blending In

I like wearing this outfit when I go to a Cyclones game, especially if my little neice is going to be there.  She is a die-hard Staten Island Yankees fan and it embarasses her to be seen with me, for some reason.

Yesterday I headed out early to watch the World Cup.  I had planned on going to Brazen Head, which usually opens early for these events.

Brazen Head

I had scouted the place earlier when I went to pick up the morning papers and they were pretty explicit about saying they would be open at 9:00 AM.

No Ambiguity Here

At about ten minutes to nine the door did open and I started to enter saying that I would be the first customer of the day.  Well, no.  They were just cleaning up and I was told that they wouldn't be opening until 10:00 AM.  When I pointed out the sign I just got a shoulder shrug and was told the bartender hadn't showed up and the sign was wrong.

It Was Not To Be

Oh well, I knew a couple other bars not far away that would be showing the game and opening early.  I opted for The Atlantic Chip Shop where a crowd was already gathering.

The Early Crowd

It looked kind of like a methadone clinic, but I guess an addict is an addict and these people were obviously World Cup addicts.  Well, except for the Mysterious Chinese Woman who was just keeping an eye on me.

As the crowd grew and became more lively the methadone clinic ambience quickly faded.

Showing Their Colors

Not that I am a big England fan, but I opted to have my picture taken with the prettier of the flag bearers.

She Even Had A Cute British Accent

The Chip Shop didn't open until 9:30 AM, but that was still half-an-hour earlier than Brazen Head.  And I got here early enough to get a place in the crowd close to the dooor.

At Least Their Sign Was Correct

And the crowd did continue to grow.

Lot's Of People Skipping Work

They were showing both the England/Slovania and the U.S.A./Algeria games.  To the owner's of Chip Shop's credit, they did relegate the England game to the screen in the back.  Not to their credit were the fact that all of the seats at the bar and at the tables closest to the TV's were reserved for their friends or regulars.  Oh well, we had pretty decent seats so no real complaints.

A Full House

Given the limited staff that was on duty the service was quick and efficient.  Especially so because a lot of people were having breakfast and beer.  I opted for a heathy sausage sandwich and a Scotch egg, a hard boiled egg coated with a lardy sausage and served cold.  I figured the beers would cut the chloresteral.  And I had a Speckled Hen followed up with Tetley's Ale.  Two mighty fine brews, even if they were served in plastic pint glasses.

The game was pretty exciting and it almost looked like the U.S.A. was going to get hosed again by a bad call.  They had one goal called back due to a non-existent off-sides.  But despite a lot of shots at the goal, other than that one nothing was going in.

And then, pandemonium.  In those minutes that somehow mysteriously get tacked on to the clock, Landon Donovan kicked one in and the U.S.A. was on its way to the next round.

Man Hugs All Around

It was pretty exciting, too.  England had already won their game and if the U.S.A. had just tied they would have been eliminated.  Now I will grant you that "soccer" is still catching on in the United States, but this was as passionate a crowd as I have ever seen watching a sporting event at a bar.

It was just a bit past noon and the Waterfront Ale House, which didn't open early for the game, was open now.  That seemed like a good place to wind down with a beer and shot of Van Gogh double espresso.

Just Chillin' Out

It was a very good day and the Mysterious Chinese Woman said she was glad she followed me around.  Probably because she got to order chicken wings.

On Saturday there will be a bit of a dilemma.  I am supposed to be going to Chinatown for dim sum to celebrate a Mysterious Sister-In-Law's birthday.  Then a whole crowd is coming back here for an ice-cream cake.  Somehow, watching the game with a house full of ice-cream cake hyper-energized little kids and in-laws won't be quite the same as catching it at a bar.


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