Last night, Mr. Crab and Blushing Whale took the double-decker bus down to The Sports Cafe to watch the Washington Redskins take on the New York Giants. The Sports Cafe is located in Piccadilly Circus, London's equivalent to New York's Times Square. The Sports Cafe is one of the few places in London that shows American sports live, including "American Football."
Consequently, Sports Cafe has a virtual monopoly on American expat sports fans and have clearly taken advantage of that fact. How else can they get away with charging $20.15 for nachos? I kid you not: £9.95 for a small plate of decent -- but not great -- nachos. Or how about £3.50 ($7.09 USD) for a pint of beer! Want to splurge and get a platter of ribs? That will be $30.
To add insult to injury, the service blows. The restaurant is seriously understaffed. We ordered chicken nachos and waited nearly an hour for our order to arrive. When it finally appeared, they were beef nachos! By that point we were so hungry we ate them anyway.
The nice thing about the Sports Cafe is its size. The place is huge. Two floors, five bars and about 12 pool tables (American pool tables, not those weird British snooker game or kid-sized pool tables). There are dozens of large plasma TV screens scattered around the venue, and several large projection screens. We arrived at gametime (9:15pm London time) and had no trouble finding a seat.
Despite its negativities, the Sports Cafe does have one strong characteristic that will probably bring us back: American sports nuts. The bar was full of American expats, most of them young college students studying abroad for a semester. Unfortunately, they were mostly Giants fans wearing NY Giants, Yankees and Mets jerseys. We Redskins fans were a small but loyal group. When the Skins scored, the fans stood and sang in unison: "Hail to the Redskins, Hail Victory..."
Sadly, it wasn't to be. The Redskins choked in the second half, blowing a 17-3 lead.