PCA 2014: A sporting oasis in the heart of Nassau
The Atlantis Resort prides itself on providing whatever a guest may desire. If you're seeking action or serenity, a slap-up feed or a light bite, a swim with dolphins, a game of tennis or a death-defying water slide, there's a place to find it on Paradise Island.
That said, there is life across the bridge in mainland Nassau. And if you're a sports fan, a bacon-and-eggs fan, a cricket fan or just a British ex-pat seeking all the home comforts left 5,000 miles away, you should hop in a taxi and ask the driver to take you to the Bahamas Cricket Club Restaurant and Pub.
It is, in short, an oasis--a million miles from the Atlantis Resort and yet only a ten minute drive away.
"It's hard work, but I love it," Chris Robertson, the 67-year-old proprietor of the Cricket Club, said this morning. He was peering out from behind the beer pumps of a true English-style bar, with soccer shirts pinned to the ceiling, photographs of famous visitors lining the walls and enough booze on aching shelves behind him to sink three of the ocean cruise liners that moor up across the bay.
A small group of patrons inside were engrossed in live coverage of Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace in the English Premier League--as well as plates of fried food. Outside, on the pavilion terrace, families tucked into an early lunch, watching a heavy roller being slowly inched across the cricket ground. Cricket is one of the most leisurely sports in the world, and the Bahamas is one of the most leisurely locations. Even the seagulls seemed to swoop a little slower than usual.
Robertson is originally from Shoreham Beach, in West Sussex, in the south of England, but after emigrating to the United States a few decades ago, eventually found his way to the Caribbean, where he met his Bahamian wife, Connie. Eighteen years ago, the couple took over a rudimentary bar in the cricket pavilion beside the Haynes Oval (named after the West Indies opening batsman Desmond Haynes) and began revamping it into what presents itself now.
The bar opens seven days a week, from early morning to late at night (Robertson estimates he averages an 80-hour week) and has four HD television screens on which it shows Premier League soccer or NFL matches, rugby games, tennis tournaments, as well as motor sports, the true passion of its proprietor.
Robertson used to be a racing driver in the UK and is now also involved with the annual Bahamas Speed Week Revival, during which race cars burn across the island, and the Cricket Club Bar and Restaurant hosts the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, one of the all-time greats of motor sport.
The staircase up to the bar is lined with portraits of the cricketing heroes who have played here, plus a cabinet full of trophies. The ample terrace of the pavilion affords views across the cricket square and up to Fort Stanley, but a left turn takes a visitor into the Aladdin's Cave of sports and food and drink.
Atlantis may think it has all bases covered, but it doesn't quite do "pub" like Robertson and the Cricket Club. There's a packed schedule of NFL games both today and tomorrow, plus some more Premier League action, to look forward to.
This oasis even welcomes poker players. You know where to go.
Our coverage of the 2014 PCA is comprehensive on PokerStars Blog, and it is simple to follow. The PCA 2014 Main Event page has a box at the top in which you'll find hand-by-hand coverage and chip counts after the action commences at noon. Below that are feature pieces, interviews and analysis updated throughout the day. You can also follow the action on PCA Live.