Okay, that's all I know about football. But I woke up on Monday to the realisation that Paul Gascoigne and I have something in common apart from a taste for dubious nightspots: neither of us is going to want to see the World Cup everywhere we go this summer. And we're not alone. Football, which used to provide an excellent way of getting blokes to herd around baying in the sorts of stinky- carpet pubs no-one in their right mind would have colonised for any other reason, seems now to dominate in every street. You can't walk along a pavement when a game is on without losing your hearing to the roars of people avoiding real human contact.
Still, the advantage is that the bars without a telly are always that bit more pleasant during the footie. I'll be in Gordon's, which has always been a breath of civilisation in the otherwise scuzzy area around Trafalgar Square. Gordon's, though it functions in a basement which you have to enter down the most hellish stairs in London, is as close to heaven as you can get in a drinker. As long as you don't drink beer.
Gordon's is a wine bar that means it: you can get wine, port and sherry in massive schooners and some basic scotch-egg-and-pie type food here, but nothing else. And despite causing agony to its devotees by being closed for years while the building upstairs was refurbished, nothing seems to have changed at all during the period: same ancient newspaper cuttings on the walls, same non-working clocks, same tobacco-coloured paint, same gloomy and dripping cellar area full of candlelit tables, same old drunk who doesn't seem to have aged a bit spilling his port on a beer-barrel table near the bar.
All the tables are too small, too wobbly, so everyone has to sit elbow- to-elbow to hold the whole thing in place. Everyone gets totally loaded and totally cheerful. And they're far too sure of their clientele to do some mistaken populist move like install a telly.
Gordon's Wine Bar, 47 Villiers St, WC2 (0171-930 1408)Reuse content