Getting up earlier than usual to watch World Cup soccer at the Valley Tavern in Noe Valley sounded like a great idea. Last night, that is. I wanted to see for myself what the hoopla is about. Show me your rabid fans, jumping up and down, yelling, and rooting for their teams. The games were Italy versus the Czech Republic and U.S. against Ghana ("The Black Stars," no joke). We were to meet up with our friends David and Anna at 7 a.m. but both Anna and I were extra groggy this morning.
Oscar and I arrived to a mostly packed bar at 7:10. The crowd was roughly 60% male, 40% female. Lots of flip flops, t-shirts, with the random jersey, full business attire, and US flag doo-rag. I felt dorky in my black dress with sassy slides, but a gal's gotta go to work eventually. Note to U.S. fans at the game: must you drape yourself in a full size flag? You look riduck-you-lous, and it seems more disrespectful than spirited to take the full step of wearing our nation's flag. Face paint is your friend-try that, instead.
It seemed important to support the Valley Tavern by ordering something, even though I craved water. The indoor temp was already very warm (it should hit the high 80s today). Some fans were drinking Guinness, others had greyhounds or coffee. I desperately needed caffeine, so Irish coffee it was. Sure, the caffeine is likely cancelled out by the whiskey, but I was up for it. David & Anna arrived and went for regular coffee, and Oscar stoically stuck to water, with an "I don't want to be dehydrated and tired today," snarky comment.
Anna observed, "I've never been a bar this early," to which I responded, "Not since college. Game day. Football. Well, that was more like eight thirty. Yeah, it's early!" We both yawned. David is an Italy fan, and reported his Mom was watching the game in Turkey, where she was the only female. The other fans showed her their support by politely clapping or yelping. David seemed to be the only Italian fan at the Tavern.
Oscar disappeared. He returned with three beautiful pastries for us to all share from Noe Valley Bakery-one cheese croissant, and two pecan morning buns. The savory croissant was my favorite, and was tart, buttery, with mild and pleasing cheese flavor notes. I won't knock the morning buns, with their sweet, rich glazey taste, and slightly crisp-tender texture. Spreading the pastries on napkins got messy, because they stuck. So I moved 'em to on top of the paper carrying bag. If it were later in the day, we might have ordered food courtesy of Le Zinc, a French bistro across the way. Mussels, cheese tart, frites, and Bavette steak all sound promising.
As the games progressed, only one fan seemed over the top in his protests, yells, and strong thumps on the bar. We almost all jumped up, high fived and cheered when U.S. scored. Otherwise, it seemed like everyone was trying to figure out how to drink, wake up, enjoy the game and then proceed to work or the rest of the day. Stepping out of the bar afterwards into the hot sun caused me to blink in shock, and shrug a bit.
I definitely can't do this every day. Cheering, watching America lose is one thing. Drinking and eating sweets for breakfast leave me zonked. I can only imbibe and enjoy like this after noon or eleven a.m.