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Sports fans flock to league of theme pubs

india Updated: Aug 15, 2010 23:37 IST
Manoj Sharma
Manoj Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Sports enthusiasts in the city never had it so good. In the past couple of years, the Millennium City has become a hub of pubs and cafes based on sports themes, which have become a platform for sports lovers to eat, drink and have a kick.

The latest one to enter the growing league of high-end sports bars in the city is Manchester United Café Bar (MUCB) in Central Mall Gurgaon, an official café of the Manchester United Club.

Enter the bar — a riot of red and black-and you could be in Old Trafford. There is giant screen on the wall showing a English Premier League match, a dugout area, (a place where the reserves and managers sit during matches), a Sir Alex Ferguson Table, The Players Table, a Manager's Bench and adorning the walls are pictures of Manchester United Red Devils footballers from the legendary Bobby Charlton, George Best to contemporary ones like Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Gigs.

The bar follows many traditions of the Manchester United Club. Every morning and evening, the staff, dressed in red and black, lustily render the team’s anthem Glory Glory Man United — and the guests are addressed as players.

“India has about 20 million Manchester United fans. The bar follows many traditions of Old Trafford. From food to football to foot-tapping music, there’s so much here to regale soccer fans,” says Sonali Mullick, product manager, liquor and beverages, Manchester United Café Bar

Soccer fans in the city say there is no better place to watch football — even those who are not Manchester United fans love to tread what they call “the enemy territory”.

“I am a Chelsea fan, but it's quite an experience being here with fellow football fans,” Vishal Gupta, a soccer fan. The café, which opened on June 11, also boasts a merchandise outlet selling an assortment of official Manchester United merchandise:

The café, which opened on June 11, also boasts a merchandise outlet selling an assortment of official Manchester United merchandise.

The café also offers an opportunity to savour the favourite dishes of star players. The beverage menu includes the Red Devil Drink, the signature cocktail of Manchester United Club.

Howzatt, another pub that has cricket as its theme, has an an in-house micro-brewery to attract cricket lovers. The entrance has bowled-out stumps, and the inside looks like a cricket stadium: there are floodlights, the reception desk has leg-pad and the lounge has glove-shaped couches, there are shelves filled with books on cricket, statues and cut-out of players all around, framed bats signed by the greats of the game. Even the three kinds of beer the pub offers are named Doosra, Googly and Bouncer.

“We offer gourmet beer and cricketainment, which is the first of a kind concept in the country. It’s a place where cricket fans come to drink, socialise and watch cricket,” said H.N. Nautiyal, the restaurant manager.

In February, the Millennium City also saw the opening of Golfworx, India’s first indoor golf lounge. Spread over 45,000 square feet, it is fast becoming a favourite with aspiring golfers. Golfworx boasts of six high-definition golf simulators that allow you to play at one the 20 best golf courses across the world.

“In India, playing golf at conventional outdoor golf courses is very expensive; besides, one can play golf only for four months on outdoor golf courses because of the inclement weather. Here you can play golf throughout the year. The idea is to make golf accessible to everyone,” said Rahul Singh, CEO, Golfworx.

Golfworx also boasts a pro-shop, the largest in the country, where golfers can choose from 33 international brands. It also has a golf academy, where one can learn golf. The dining area, including a bar and conference facility, is a favourite with corporate houses that conduct conferences and meetings there.

Blu-O at Ambience Mall is India’s largest and most advanced 24-lane bowling centre. It has a bar, a pro- shop and an array of concept lounges.

“We stand out for ambience, lighting, music, and cater to the eight to 40 age group that comes here to socialise and bowl. The place is also popular with professional bowlers,” said Gautam Dutta Blu-O CEO.