Clubs gamble on fight

Click to follow
The Independent Online
MIKE ROWBOTTOM

Four o'clock in the morning may be the time when spirits are at their lowest ebb, but a number - deliberately unspecified by BSkyB - of clubs and pubs around the country have gambled on the hope that Bruno-Tyson live will enliven their customers.

The Sports Cafe, in the Haymarket, is offering two-tier entertainment on its 120 television screens - and without any wrangles over their licence, which runs until 6.00am. Upstairs, a black tie affair for 150, who will pay pounds 60 a head for a champagne meal with all the trimmings; downstairs, at pounds 20 each, an estimated 450 will secure themselves a view and four drinks. Pints of vodka all round.

Shoeless Joe's, the King's Road bar owned by the England rugby union player Victor Ubogu, has been unable to gain a licence extension for a live showing, so its regulars will be turning up at the doors at 8.30am on Sunday with their hands over their ears in case anyone should tell them the result. A total of 200 people will pay pounds 15 for an accompanying two-course champagne breakfast.

Rock City, in Nottingham, will offer around 1,500 regulars a live view, although only soft drinks will be served. The long hours before the fight will be filled with videos of boxing classics such as the "Thriller in Manila", and other offerings such as Pulp Fiction or The Blues Brothers. Choice will be determined by the loudest cheers.

Ruby Tuesdays, in Glasgow, will open specially on Sunday for a double header - a recording of the fight and a live view of the Real Thing - Celtic v Rangers.

Pubs have hit problems with extending licensing hours. "I am not aware of any pub that has got an extension for a live showing," said Tim Hanson, spokesman for the Brewers and Licence Retailers' Association.

The route remains open, however, for private parties to be held. Carl Spires, landlord of The Tanners Arms, in Bishop's Stortford, is inviting around 30 regulars, who have paid for drinks up front, to see the fight live.

It was a tricky decision from a business point of view, but Spires's background as a former amateur boxer in Tottenham tipped the balance. "I hope to break even," he said. "But I think Sky are taking the mick. I already pay pounds 70 per month, and I've had to lay out another pounds 120 just for one fight. If they try this again, I'm out."

Comments