The World Cup in South Africa is only weeks away. The greatest football spectacle on Earth will keep the football supporters glued to the screens while to battle the mounting frustration and lack of attention, their female companions are likely to go on a shopping spree and vent it all out.
Bulgaria, who failed to make the cut once again, will be spared the all-engulfing football fever that will unquestionably grip the nations represented in South Africa. Regardless of the country’s absence however, Bulgarians will watch the event, and any foreigners residing permanently or temporarily in the country need fear not – the tournament will be televised just about anywhere. Bulgarian National Television (BNT) will show the games and here is a selected list of Sofia venues that will show the matches.
One of the choices could well be Flannagans pub and bar at Radisson SAS Grand Hotel, right across from Parliament. Besides the rich selection of beer, whisky and other beverages, fans can watch all games live on the pub’s projection screen or several of its large-screen TVs. The venue will have an additional TV screen for the duration of the tournament, The Sofia Echo was told. The phone number for reservations is 02/ 933 47 40.
In central Sofia is the Hilton’s Artists bar. A special large-screen TV will be set up, along with a board that will keep everybody informed of results, the hotel said. The phone number is 02/ 933 50 00.
For those living in Mladost and not too keen on braving the traffic to the city centre, the Holiday Inn in the Business Park Sofia is a good opportunity. On the outdoor terrace, there will be two wide-screen TVs, hotel staff told The Sofia Echo. All games will be shown live. To book, phone 02/ 807 07 24.
A tempting option is the summer garden at Grand Hotel Sofia as well as the hotel’s lobby, the staff told the Sofia Echo. A wide-screen television will show the games, with Ivan Vazov National Theatre as the backdrop. For contacts, phone 02/ 811 09 00.
But you don’t have to restrict yourselves to expensive establishments where a three hour drinking session with football would cost an arm, a leg or a premature divorce settlement.
Casual pubs around Sofia will be showing the games, though Bulgarian pubs are likely to show BNT’s feed. To mingle with other expats and listen to English-language commentary, consider some of the following.
JJ Murphy’s Irish Pub at 6 Kurnigradska Str is famous for its sporting spirit and has a long tradition of showing football games. All matches will be shown live on all of the pub’s four TV screens. The big projection screen in the middle will be reserved for the most passionate fans. To book, phone 02/ 980 28 70
Lozenets borough has the bar and restaurant 2030 Brasserie as an option. A large-screen TV will be placed at the venue, which is just a short stroll from the US embassy, at 1 Banat Str. Reservations can be made by phoning 02/ 868 34 91.
While still in Lozenets, you may want to sample The Black Dog. The pub, at 8 Golo Burdo Str, has three large screens. The phone number is 02/ 480 88 48.
A more typical Bulgarian venue, Perfekt, next to Lake Ariana near the Vassil Levski National Stadium, will show matches on three flat-screens and should you wish to take a break between the afternoon and evening matches, there is always the option to take a paddle boat on the lake. Phone: 089/ 461 29 13.
So that’s it. Book up, send the missus somewhere far and away, get together with the lads and good luck. Oh, and don’t drive after that.