With the World Cup having finally drawn to a close, what better time to review, not the tournament itself, but the various drinking establishments in the city that Shanghaiist frequented during a month of serious boozing and football-watching. Quite simply, there was no better excuse than the world’s biggest sporting event to check out some new watering holes, and swell the coffers of Shanghai’s already dirt-rich bar owners.
Air Bar, 1066 Yan’an Xi Lu, was our first port of call, for the Germany v Costa Rica opening match. Fantastic setting, beer garden on top of a skyscraper roof, plenty of air to be had indeed. Nice World Cup drinks specials and even nicer Costa Rican Seniorettas.
Plan B on 33 Yongjia Lu was the venue for the first half of England’s opener against Paraguay. A bar we liked and frequented regularly before the World Cup, Shanghaiist was disappointed to hear loud music continue to play for quite some time after kick-off had begun. Not only that, but when complaints were made, the Canadian manager saw fit to purposefully dance around in front of the screen blocking fans’ view of the action. This did not amuse the many fans in the bar and we left at half time seeking a more football-friendly venue.
Jia Mu Tang (嘉木堂) on Dong Zhu An Bang Lu near Jiangsu Lu was our destination for the second half — recommended to us by a Chinese friend. We have discovered a small, hidden gem. Totally Chinese and unpretentious, this neat little neighbourhood bar is the kind of place Shanghaiist will be spending a lot more time in, especially as Tsingtao bottles are just 10rmb, and it’s dangerously close in proximity to our day job office.
Koala Bar, 280 Huai Hai Lu, saw us take in the African dark horses Ivory Coast in their clash against Holland. Friendly bar, great drinks specials, nice big screen and good banter. Definitely a bar worth returning to.
Freelance, 45 Yueyang Lu, had a 100 RMB all you can eat and drink night, as Shanghaiist joined a Mexican hombre for the Mexico v
cheating f**ks Portugal game. The bar was full of Mexicans which made for an excellent atmosphere in its comfortable beer garden. Wonderful outdoor fans (of the mechanical variety, that is) keep things fresh during Shanghai’s nightmare-hot summer evenings.
Windows Scoreboard, 681 Huaihai Zhong Lu — strangely enough for a cheap beer lover, Shanghaiist had not visited the Huaihai Zhong Lu Windows before the world cup. But we found a genuine sports bar with two big screens, drinks at a fair price and a boisterous, fairly young crowd. Enjoyed a great atmosphere during the USA v Ghana group game. Who said Americans couldn’t get excited about football? Not this lot, who were just as loud and crazy as fans of any other country. Good skills.
Shuffle Bar on Xingfu Lu will be a familiar venue for anyone who attended Shanghaiist’s recent happy hour there, and on our return to the venue for the Argentina v Germany quarter final we found it full of Shanghai Shenhua FC Blue Devils, which made for a rather rowdy atmosphere. Most of them were rooting for Argentina and were
running a book speculating keenly over the winner. Oddly, the two screens in the bar were showing the action about 30 seconds apart, which made for a bizarre evening.
O’Malleys on Taojiang Lu, — made numerous trips here, mostly to watch England games with Shanghaiist’s companions who were unfortunate enough to be born on the wrong side of Hadrians wall. No venue can compete with it in terms of capacity and atmosphere, which is presumably the reason for the rip-off beer prices. It was here we saw England exit from the tournament — full marks to the kilt-wearing chap in the Portugal top. Quality stuff mate, wonder where he was from? Also took in the final here, resurgent France versus
cheating bastards who give football a bad name streetwise Italy. But, for the final, it was 100 RMB to get in, including two drinks — bad
Zapatas on Hengshan Lu was our venue for the France v Brazil quarter-final, being a mere five-minute stagger along the road from O’Malley’s following England’s
hilarious unfortunate exit to Portugal on penalties. Nice outdoor big screen, not-so-nice beer prices.
British Bulldog, 1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu — an obvious destination of choice for the England matches but we didn’t make it there, having been quoted 3,000 RMB to reserve a table over the phone. Would you be charged 200 British Pounds to sit at a table in a “Public House” to watch a football match in the UK? Don’t think so. Shocking World-Cup-fuelled greed and the bar is now on this Shanghaiist’s blacklist.
Anyway, with the World Cup out of the way, Shanghaiist will get its football fix from the somewhat less glamorous CSL, when Shanghai Shenhua take on Qingdao Zhongneng at Hongkou Stadium on Sunday night, at 7:45pm.