The First Sunday of February had arrived. Super Bowl Sunday was finally here. Now with the time difference between North America and Europe, the Game never usually begins in Ireland until close to midnight, or three am if the Host City is on the West Coast.
No matter how hard I try to stay awake, napping during the day, sleeping late that morning or drinking gallons of Red Bull until I'm pacing, involuntarily around the Bar. Come the end of the 1st quarter I'm losing the battle with slumber. Having already explained how my plan to go to the game had been crushed, thanks NFL. My desire to watch the spectacle in its home Country at a reasonable hour still appealed and thus it was included on my Bucket List.
The Day, or at the least the drinking portion, began in my Hotel Room. After nipping out for a Filet Steak at Longhorns Steakhouse on Highway 192, I decided to finish the beers I had bought the night before in Wal-Mart. It's almost shameful that after countless trips to the states I have only just to round to trying Yuengling, which I can strongly recommend. As anyone who has been following will know, I was staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort on the Universal Orlando Complex and had a view of the new onsite Waterpark, Volcano Bay, which is under construction. So I sank a few cold ones while surveying the impressive volcano! At around 3:30 I hailed an Uber, if that's the correct term, using the new App on my phone.
This was my first time using Uber, so I was quite excited. A few nights previously I had asked the Barman in Bubba Gumps about the service, mainly if it was safe to use. He assured me that it was and even had a waiter, who drives for Lyft, come over and explain it to me. Both Guys completely missed the point I made about Uber being new in Ireland and that we consider it safe, as there are only three drivers on the whole Island, so everyone knows them. Some Americans really do believe everyone in Ireland knows each other.
Anyway, within a few minutes I found my Uber and was on my way. Typically, having travelled halfway around the World, my driver turned out to be French and spotting my Rugby Top, proceeded to dismiss American Football and discuss the 6 Nations Championship instead. ( I leave the Country for one Game and Ireland lose to Scotland)
It wasn't long before we were pulling onto the parking lot of Twin Peaks, which was located on International Drive across from the Orlando Eye Attraction. Twin Peaks, a "Breastaurant" chain that was founded in Texas back in 2005 and has quietly expanded across numerous states.
Themed as a log cabin nestled in the mountains, walking in was a cool escape from the early February heat (I'm from a rainy cold island of grass remember) with a warm welcome from the scantily clad hostess, I took a quick look around the large space searching out a spot to nestle into for my American adventure. Drawn by the sunshine coming into the restaurant From my right, I found a spot at the bar which straddled the open patio and the edge of the restaurant.
An army of young ladies in the company uniform hustled about, delivering food, drinks and warm smiles to the patrons at tables and at the two bars that I could see! Twin Peaks essentially serves up American classic comfort food and regular bar snacks. While I didn't eat, other than fries, during my visit, any of the dishes being served appeared appetizing and plentiful in their portion size!
I caught a quick look at a menu and all on offer seemed to be reasonably priced. I suppose you can discount the food and grub, when you are saving so much money on staff uniforms! Thankfully, the scantily clad outfits are only worn by the ladies!
With the afternoon sun on my back I settled into my bar stool which was in eye shot of at least 8 large screen TVs! Almost immediately I was welcomed by one of the two barmaids, who greeted me warmly and introduced herself. She then asked my name. A simple touch, but something that struck me throughout the day as both barmaids continued to address me by name, inspite of the constant turnover of customers at their station.
Let's be honest, the appeal may be the scantily clad staff but there is a lot more when you scratch the surface! I continually watched these ladies welcome each customer at the bar! Note there name and refer to them as if they were a regular or an old friend. Now perhaps they have a way of doing this, like putting your name on the tab, but it's not something in used to at home!
I took quick look at what was available on draught, before opting for a man size (22oz) pour of.... I cant for the life of me remember what it was. That's handy for a beer blog. I think it was something to do with a Monkey, but who knows. I have had too many Birthdays. Anyway, while enjoyable it was a little thick and heavy for the occasion, so I mixed things up early on and went for a Signature craft, a 22oz Dirty Blonde.
Draught beers came in 2 sizes, Man size and regular! Technically it's Man size and girls size, but I don't agree with the sexist undertones of that labelling (rich coming from the guy drinking in a breastaurant). So working off the Mantra of the Customer is always right, Bridget and Erika, my servers saw my point of view, briefly acknowledged it & then flatly refused to call it a regular beer, insisting quite loudly I had ordered a girls beer each time! Apparently that amused them.
Oh the Shame! I began to think I would have to return to Ireland in disgrace.
As the Afternoon wore on the Conversation flowed easily with the guys at the Bar and the pregame programme started. As expected with the Super Bowl quite a few football fans began to arrive, all decked out in their NFL Shirts and Hats. I found The Dirty Blonde easy to drink and a decent craft beer. As Game time grew closer the atmosphere built and it was amazing to see the Bar stand for the National Anthem, with caps removed and hand over hearts. Something the Americans do like no other.
I spent the first half of the game enjoying the company of two great guys from Kore.com, one from the States and the other from Wales, which made for quite the multicultural group..
The game started well for the Atlanta Falcons, who were the underdogs against the New England Patriots. As the first half ended the Falcons had an unbelievable lead and looked to be heading towards the Trophy. Some Patriots fans even began to leave the bar as the thought it was all over.. But then we all know, well anyone who likes Football does, what happened next.
Tom Brady lead what will go down as the most amazing comeback in Super Bowl history to clinch the title for New England.
It was an amazing game to watch and I think I chose well with the venue. I had a great afternoon at Twin Peaks, which believe it or not is a family place. I saw many kids in the restaurant when I was there and the atmosphere was fun and relaxed. A lot like Hooters in many ways, places like this are perceived as being men only or a little sleazy, by some people anyway. That couldn't be further from what I found to be the case.
Thanks to everyone at Twin Peaks, International Drive for making me so welcome and to Bridget and Erika for keeping me topped up in Girl Beers. Erika, seems to be somewhat camera shy as I could only find a photo of Bridget.
If you are in the area, drop by for Paddy's Day. Tell them I sent you, it will make no difference but may be fun to see the confusion on their faces.