PUBS across Wiltshire are determined to pull in the punters as World Cup fever grips the nation, with promotions or special events planned for the month-long event which starts today.
Pubs have stocked up the cellars and employed extra staff in anticipation of a football frenzy. It all kicks off with Brazil v Croatia at 9pm tonight, with England’s first appearance on Saturday at 11pm against Italy.
The Pheasant Carvery on Bath Road, Chippenham, will be showing all World Cup matches on its three 40in screens in the main bar area and have recently taken on four new members of staff.
During Saturday’s match, viewers will also get a free curry.
Manager Richard Jennings said: “Anyone who buys a drink during the 90 minutes of the match will get a free madras curry to soak up the beer.
“We are hoping for a busy night. It will be a late night and an early morning for Father’s Day I expect. There’ll be a few dads with headaches probably.
“There’s still definitely a market for the old-fashioned pub where the landlord knows your first name. It’s about getting the community back in the pub and if having Sky Sports does it then that’s what we’ll do.”
Even the Three Crowns will be turning on the telly for the England matches and the final.
The London Road Inn in Calne have stocked up with extra lager, but landlord Geoffrey Snoad said: “It could only last three weekends. Once we have done the first two games that will put us in a better position to know what to do.
“We plan to be busier, we have got extra lager in ready for the event and we’ve got extra staff on. We’ve recently employed a new member of staff.
“We’re hoping to just keep it sensible but make sure people enjoy it, there’s no crazy plan. People just want to enjoy it, they don’t want to go over the top.”
The Woodlands Social Club in Calne will be staying open late for Saturday’s game.
Owner Nick Clifford’s wife, Kirsty, said: “I think it will be good for business.
"We’ve got a function on Saturday for 200 people so maybe some of them will stay behind afterwards.”
Calne football fans can also watch the big game at The Lansdowne Strand Hotel, The Wheatsheaf and the Jenny Wren Inn.
Devizes landlords Ian and Sarah Wixon are looking forward to showing the World Cup games for the first time.
The couple became publicans of The Southgate Inn, Potterne Road, three and a half years ago so this will be their first opportunity to screen the games.
Mr Wixon, 49, said: “We are not specifically known as a football pub but we have been asked a few times by customers to have the World Cup games on.
“I will try and usher people into the skittle alley where we have a TV. We will be showing mainly the England games.
“We hope it won’t be too intrusive to other customers. We might do a half-time barbecue depending on how many people will be here.”
Mr Wixon, a former Devizes Town player, said: “I think England have a better chance than people think. I hope the manager plays the youngsters.”
The Crown pub in New Park Street, Devizes, will be screening all the World Cup games.
Landlord Jim Lynch said: “It has always been good for business, particularly if England does well. If they progress through the group stages it picks up momentum and it is always very busy for the England games.”