Pubs and bars across the Fylde coast are getting ready for an outbreak of football fever as England prepare for tomorrow’s World Cup opener against Italy.
They are marking what should be a bumper weekend for the trade with everything from bunting and drinks deals to new screens, and the chance for revellers to have their picture taken with a replica World Cup trophy.
As well as its trophy offer, the Walkabout bar in Queen Street, Blackpool, will have a smoke machine which will mark every goal in every game by pumping out smoke in the colours of the team which has scored.
It has a big projector screen and nine plasma screens upstairs, and another eight screens downstairs.
Walkabout’s sales and marketing manager, Lee Burns, said: “We have a capacity of 900 and we always tend to be full when England play in a big tournament.
“There is space for 450 people upstairs, where we will have the commentary on, and around 400 of those places have already been reserved.
“We’ve ordered in extra beer.
“It’s most definitely good for business, and it is good for the town.”
The bar has all 32 national flags downstairs, while other attractions include a pre and post-match DJ and a service called Screech TV running on other TV screens – showing tweets about the game on social media from around the world.
Licensing laws have been relaxed by the Government to allow pubs to open later than usual for England games which kick-off late, including tomorrow’s, which gets underway at 11pm.
Like Walkabout, The Bull Hotel, in Poulton, will open until 2am. It also has a DJ and is offering tournament themed food and drinks, including Brahama Brazilian lager, Brazilian Blonde Ale and a special Carnival Crush and Rio Rush cocktail comprising ‘Brazilian’ WKD, Malibu, vodka and lemonade.
Assistant manager Cheryl Ryan said: “We are looking forward to it and want people to join in the fun and come and support the team.
“We’ve got our England flags up in the windows and all the staff will be wearing England themed clothes.”
The Belle Vue, on Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, will open until 1am.
Manager, Dan Johnson, said: “We have bought a massive new projector to show the games, we have got England flags, and we have got bunting for the other World Cup teams.
“We’ve ordered in something like an extra 15 barrels of beer and new glasses, so we can keep the service flowing.
“I’m hoping we will be full, and there is usually a great atmosphere for these occasions.
“I don’t think there’s as much expectation around England this time, so I think people will just want to enjoy themselves. If the team get a few good results that will be a bonus.”
In St Annes, Toast has had new HD TVs installed, while sister venue The Loft has a new 50-inch TV and huge HD projection screen with surround sound installed.