Bars and balls for a perfect match

(Shanghai Star)
Updated: 2006-06-12 09:08

Bars and balls for a perfect matchWith the long-anticipated FIFA World Cup just minutes away, bars and clubs in Shanghai are preparing to open their doors to a surge of night-owls and football enthusiasts while attempting to offer the most exciting extras and atmosphere. So besides live match broadcasts on large-screen TVs, what other kinds of entertainment should spoilt punters be looking for?

Of course, most recreation venues in the city still put the matches themselves first. An attractive TV screen is thus especially necessary during the World Cup period - the bigger, the better. A local cinema has recently promised to turn some of its theatres over to the games with giant screens that will be hard for anyone to beat.

Bonnie Cheng, a PR clerk from Park 97, located at Fuxing Park, said the venue would broadcast all the World Cup matches live, just as they did four years ago. Park 97’s splendid red-themed bar "Upstairs" has been turned into a special room exclusively for football viewers.

"I think many other bars and clubs will do the same thing we have. Most guests coming in during this period will pay more attention to the football games than anything else in the bar," she said. "We expect a casual atmosphere with the viewers completely enjoying every minute during the matches."

But a few bars have come up with special programmes, in order to draw even more visitors and keep them entertained with more than the football viewing.

In the Junction Bar of the New World Mayfair Hotel, special snacks will be served from the countries participating in the 2006 World Cup, including American burgers, French Croque Monsieur, Italian bruschetta, German sausages, British meat pies, Spanish paella, Mexican quesadilla and Japanese yakitori. Its World Cup Carefree Package, which contains international and Chinese buffet snacks, three bottled beers, a free flow of tea and coffee and a business breakfast, is priced at 128 yuan (US$15.70) per person. The exclusive snack buffet costs 68 yuan (US$8.40) per person.

Visitor can get "buy two, get one free" on all drinks in the bar between 7-10 pm and recorded video of a few midnight matches will be played after 2 pm.

In addition to the live broadcasts, singing and goal-scoring contests will be held in the Junction Bar. The best singer of a favourite football song will win a pitcher of beer. Two mini-goals have already been placed in front of the bar and visitors are invited to compete in a goal-scoring "match" with the team from the hotel.

Anyone with a good knowledge of the different national football teams and a talent for spotting winners should try to catch the event in the Allegro Bar of the Regal International East Asia Hotel. Viewers in the bar who accurately forecast the match results in its World Cup Predictor Game will have the chance to win a 50 per cent discount off their total bills. Those who predict the final winner correctly will qualify for a chance at the grand prize: a one night weekend stay at the Regal deluxe room for two persons with breakfast and a candlelit dinner valued at 1,000 yuan (US$123).

A variety of cocktails have been designed especially for the World Cup Event in the Allegro Bar, mostly with spectacular appearance. Diners in the bar or in the Bacchus restaurant are entitled to "buy one, get one free" for Budweiser beer during the match period.

For football fans who are considering watching the matches together with other people in bars, some of the smaller games and special foods could be quite an attraction.

"That sounds interesting, perhaps I see," said Tian Qiang, a Shanghai white-collar clerk. He said he already plans to call on at least three friends to watch some of the "important" matches in bars.

So he wants to select a bar which is easily accessible both for him and his friends. "I expect the beverage price to be cheaper than usual. For example, a glass of beer should cost under 50 yuan (US$6.20) to be acceptable to me," he said.

Cameron Wilson, a British expat and also a party animal, said he will - "for sure" - go to watch some football matches in bars because of the exciting atmosphere there. He usually watched most of the matches when back home in the UK.

"But it is more interesting in Shanghai, because there are lots of people from all over the world here supporting different teams," he said. "I also expect loud, rowdy and boisterous shenanigans when watching the games."

Ready to enjoy the games as well as the atmosphere, Cameron has also thought up a special way of entertaining himself - "I will strip naked and run down the Bund with my underwear on my head, to celebrate the victory of the team I support!"

Upstairs in Park 97
2A Gaolan Road, inside Park 97
Tel: 5383-2328

Junction bar in New World Mayfair Hotel
2F, No 1555 North Dingxi Road
Tel: 6240-8888

Allegro bar in Regal International East Asia Hotel
516 Hengshan Road
Tel: 6415-5588


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