FOOTBALL fans are set to push Capital pubs to “festival level capacity” as they descend on the city centre ahead of the World Cup semi-final clash between Croatia and England this evening.
Hundreds of supporters will pack out city bars to watch the evening kick off as the Auld Enemy bid to make a first World Cup final in over 50 years.
Croatia eliminated hosts Russia in the quarter finals on Saturday evening after England defeated Sweden 2-0.
And pubs across the city have reported crowds watching previous tournament matches at “festival levels”, with some bringing in extra booze to cope with surging demand.
Bosses at The Three Sisters in the Cowgate shipped in and added 400 kegs of Tennents, 200 kegs of Magners and 100 kegs of Guinness over the weekend to keep fans going through 90 minutes, extra time and penalties.
Brian Dobie, bar manager at the Pear Tree, predicted the pub would be at capacity “hours before kick-off” adding fans should get there early to ensure they get inside.
He said: “On Saturday, we had people queuing out the door for a few hours before kick-off, so we are expecting crowds to start arriving at about 4.30.”
“We should be at capacity well before kick-off.”
Mr Dobie added: “We’re seeing alcohol being sold at Festival levels at the moment, we’ve been absolutely packed for every game.”
“We had big support for a lot of the South American teams during the tournament, so it is a shame that none of them have made it through.”
“Obviously, we are expecting a big international crowd, but it should be a good atmosphere, it has been throughout the tournament.”
The winner of tonight’s clash will face France in the final after their 1-0 win over Belgium last night.
Fans watching the match on outdoor screens can expect sunny intervals on an otherwise cloudy evening, with temperatures at kick off around the 18C mark.
Police officers are expected to have a presence in the city centre, however extra patrols won’t be on the street following a stabbing incident after a match at the weekend.
Peter Moyes, 24, was slashed in the Mousetrap bar in Leith after England’s win over Sweden, but Police Scotland sources insist there will be enough cops to cope with increased crowds.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “There will be an appropriate policing presence in Edinburgh city centre during the forthcoming World Cup football matches, with the safety of the public our main priority.”