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Fourth-Place Medal

How London pubs watched 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Fourth-Place Medal

LONDON — "Shhhhhhh!"

It's not something you expect to hear in a London pub on a Friday night, inside a room packed with young locals and their beverages. But not every Friday night at The Water Poet on Folgate Street has the television tuned to a theatrical retelling of the industrial revolution, with mechanical smokestacks and dancing millionaires.

OK, the silence was broken when the dancing millionaires arrived. With a little laughter.

[ Photos: See the images from the London Games' Opening Ceremony ]

For those who couldn't get into the Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony, local pubs and bars offered a communal opportunity to celebrate the start of the games.

"It's mainly for the community. It's not about who's makin' money. All the people who didn't get a ticket have a place to enjoy it," said Josh Watts of The Book Club on Leonard Street.

Seemingly every street had a pub with patrons pouring out through the doors, either because the pub was too packed or so they could have a smoke while watching it through the window.

The Water Poet offered an open-air back room with a BBQ, along with no less than four other rooms with the ceremony on. The bar also had a unique drink promotion going:

All week we'll be replacing our usual fabulous ales with a seriously exciting selection of our favourite brewers' Olympic offerings, and YOU'LL have the final vote on who wins the gold — a coveted guest spot on our pumps during the Games. Will it be ADNAMS Flame Runner, TRUMAN'S Clean & Jerk or YOUNG's London Gold?

In the early running, Adnams had the lead.

Some revelers arrived in costumes — togas, drag — while others arrived in their nation's flags.

The lower floor of the bar was a cinema, with around 60 people crammed in with rapt attention. They counted down from 10 as the show started, laughing when two balloons with the number six failed to pop on cue. They sang along with "Danny Boy." They cheered and booed some of the rugby footage, and giggled at some of the hokey elements of the opening (apple tossing?).

Some of the natives were getting restless. "BUT WHERE IS JAMES [EXPLETIVE] BOND?" shouted one patron, getting a laugh.

The night was young.

[ Related: Team USA basketball's arrival generates considerable fanfare ]

Over at The Book Club, it was a different scene. Across from the pub was something called the Basecamp: a large open space that included a party tent, a big screen and lawn chairs, a food truck and games for the revelers.

"It's been in the works for a long time. Twice a year, we have our street party, which we have 5-6,000 people for. Any excuse for a big party, and we're going to go for it," said Watts.

"It's a playground for adults."

As the Games continue, the pub plans on having Freestyle BMX demos, live graffiti art and tournaments ranging from basketball tosses to ping-pong.

But on Friday night, with the pub packed across the way, Basecamp was a party. A trip through London's music past brought the crowd alive:

Eventually, the parade of nations began, bringing the expected cheers and jeers (and in the case of Australia, a bit of both).

The party continued at The Book Club and at pubs around London, filled with something beyond the usual Friday night crowd — with pride that the Games had finally arrived.

OK, and filled with a little confusion.

"I didn't get most of it," said one patron outside of The Book Club of the Opening Ceremony.

"But I did like when Mr. Bean showed up."

More Olympic coverage on the Yahoo! Sports network:
'Queen' parachutes into Olympic Stadium during Opening Ceremony
Lolo Jones proves fears about United States' uniforms too
Usain Bolt draws plenty of attention, enlists teammates as bodyguards

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