Having made the grade locally, a novel London bar run by two Cork men is ready to made the step up to international football.
Last year the Irish Examiner first reported on the Six Yard Box, a football-themed pub that opened in Artworks, which is a project in central London that rents refurbished shipping containers to new retailers, restaurants and start-ups.
Now, 18 months since opening, the Six Yard Box is preparing to go big for Euro 2016, by hosting the tournament on a big screen in an open-air park.
The duo behind the bar — Sebastian O’Driscoll from Carrigaline, and Ballinlough native Eoin O’Flynn — are bringing Pop Football to Kennington Park and hope to attract thousands of fans to their new temporary venture over the course of the tournament.
Sebastian said the duo are aiming to bring up to 500 people a day to the park for big-screen sports, table tennis, fussball and craft ales served from a new shipping container bar.
With England, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland all in this summer’s tournament, it is hoped that fans will pack a picnic blanket and come in their droves to enjoy the football.
“The Six Yard Box has gone really well, but obviously we are limited to the number of people we can host, it being in a shipping container,” he said.
The plan will see the side of a shipping container opened up to facilitate a new bar for the park, with casks of up to 20 different ales from local microbreweries on offer. The park will also host Wimbledon screenings and, while it is not yet confirmed, Sebastian hopes to run similar events for the All-Ireland Finals.
“We would love to do something like that to plug into the diaspora and to give the Irish here in London an event to celebrate that isn’t St Patrick’s Day,” he said.
He added that while the Six Yard Box attracts customers of all nationalities, publicity for the pub in Ireland has led to expats seeking out the bar and, in some cases, helping out with its development.
“We’ve had a lot of help from people over the past year, a couple of Irish lads helped us with the fit-out and made signs for us pro bono. There’s an Irish community that has been really good to us. It could not have happened without them,” Sebastian said.
The Artworks project and now Pop Football have been valuable experiments for the Six Yard Box team, who have been given affordable ways to test their market and see if there is room for expansion.
The lease for the Six Yard Box is up in 2018, after which the Cork men may look to make a big transfer to a more permanent home for their increasingly popular pub.
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