8 reasons why darts and pubs make the perfect double
Make your pub the place to watch the World Championship action from the Lakeside
Darts and the pub. It’s like love and marriage, or a pint and a packet of pork scratchings. Some things are just meant to be.
With the iconic Lakeside Country Club currently hosting the World Darts Championships – which is being screened live on BT Sport – we thought we’d take a quick look at how pubs and darts go hand in hand.
1. Even the champ has a pint
They say the toughest match after winning the World Championships is your next one, so how did last year’s BDO victor Glen Durrant calm his nerves before his round one match this year? With a couple of beers, of course. Duzza went on to comprehensively beat Gary Robson 3-0 to book his place in the last 16.
2. And so do the fans
Most surveys about pubs say the most important factor for choosing one is the atmosphere. Darts is the only sport that generates a buzz (and fancy dress) akin to a wild night on the town. Need to ramp-up the atmosphere in the pub? Whack on the darts and pass around a few foam fingers. Your punters will be partying like a stag-do at the Lakeside in no time.
3. But drink responsibly folks
Former BDO champion Andy Fordham once drank so much he collapsed before he was due to take the stage at the Lakeside. After that, he turned to alcohol-free beer, which is one of the growing trends in the on-trade. According to CGA stats the alcohol-free market in the on-trade is now worth around £30m – up 6.4 per cent, year on year.
4. From the pub to pro?
In how many other sports can you go from competing at your local to playing on the biggest stage of them all. This is the leap that many take, including current PDC champion Rob Cross. In February 2016 he entered a PDC qualifier at Rileys in Norwich. Just under two years later and he became world champion, beating Phil Taylor 7-2 earlier this month and earning more than £600,000 in his first year as a pro.
5. Part of the team
Darts teams are generally a loyal bunch and can be a useful income stream, bringing opponents in for a drink and providing you with a chance for you to showcase your offer. Pros still occasionally play for their local sides too. It didn’t work out well for Scott Waites (below) though. Just 24-hours after winning the BDO title in 2016 he was dropped from the team at The Commercial in Golcar, near Halifax. They went on to win without him.
6. From pint pulling to tungsten throwing
Darts players don’t just drink or play in the pub, many have worked or owned one too. Phil Taylor, Eric Bristow and Gary Anderson are not only world champions, but they have all done time behind the bar as well as the oche. Bobby George took things a step further by building a pub in his 17-bedroom Essex mansion, George Hall.
7. Boho chic
Just like tattoos and beer it seems the hipsters have their eyes on another element of British life traditionally associated with the working classes. While plenty of boards have been taken down in recent years to make space for larger dining areas, darts are making something of a comeback. Trendy bars such as Flight Club, which has two London venues, mix darts with cocktails, craft beer, food and contemporary versions of the game to make it accessible to all. You can hire oches from between £15 to £40 – which is a little different to borrowing the old set of darts with the non-matching flights from the tankard behind the bar.
According to industry group PubAid, pubs collectively raise around £100m each year for good causes. Darts teams and events play a part in this. In fact, Prostate Cancer UK has this year teamed-up with Bobby George (yep, him again) to front its Men United Arms campaign, which celebrates top fundraising boozers.
The 2018 Lakeside World Professional Championship concludes on Sunday January 14. Catch the action between then and now on BT Sport. For more information visit sport.bt.com/darts