The Brazilian counterpart of a Winsford watering hole has opened its doors for business, some 4,000 miles away from its Swanlow Lane origins.

The Old Star Rio launched with a champagne reception ahead of the World Cup opening ceremony on Thursday, after the pub beat more than 2,000 nominated boozers to claim victory in McCoy’s search for a pub to put on a plane to the South American city.

The popular public house has been recreated a stone’s throw from Rio’s beautiful beaches, complete with its much-loved wooden horse head pub sign, traditional fireplace, darts board and distinctive wooden bar.

Traditional Brazilian Capoeira dancers and stilt walkers helped inject that famous carnival atmosphere into the launch party.

Ernie raises a glass in The Old Star Rio
Ernie raises a glass in The Old Star Rio

Landlord Ernie Welch, nine lucky punters and 30 competition winners have been flown out to see the replica and enjoy the festivities.

Speaking all the way from Rio, Ernie said: “The reaction to The Old Star Rio has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“I have done more interviews and photo shoots than John Bishop does in a week, I feel like a superstar!

“To be sat in the heart of Rio in The Old Star watching England is living the dream in reality.”

As well as offering fans of ‘the beautiful game’ home comforts and proper pints, the Old Star Rio will play host to a number of Best of British events over the next few weeks, including karaoke nights, FIFA X-Box competitions and a special performance by the England Supporters Band.

The Old Star’s efforts to ensure they won the contest consisted of a social media campaign run by Ernie’s daughter Kate, the setting up of a polling station-style booth in the pub and staff calling on friends and family - some as far away as Florida - to vote.

The Old Star Rio is a long way from home
The Old Star Rio is a long way from home