Photo credit: TIME
With the FIFA World Cup just a couple of days away and subscription packages once again at a premium, we decided to embark on a mini-pub crawl across Hong Kong (our judgement was definitely not impaired by alcohol), with the goal of finding the best bars/restaurants to get fully immersed in the action over a couple of Suarez-sized bites and drink deals cheekier than a Panenka penalty.
Here are the places that made our list, in no particular order:
1. Forbes 36 Sports Bar and Grill (Kennedy Town)
Minimum Spend: $300 per head
Recommended: Goose Island IPA, Digital IPA, Giddyup, Pimms and Mojito
Address: G/F 36 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2813 5335
A sleek and well-stocked bar with incredibly warm and friendly staff. Easily located, positioned directly opposite Kennedy Town MTR station (exit C).
Features 6 screens spaced evenly, including a large 80" screen further inside.
Food choices include standard steaks, burgers and onion rings.
Willing to show any and all games throughout the World Cup, but bookings will only be accepted for large groups of more than 20 guests.
The owner himself is quite partial to the beautiful game, as evidenced by the framed and autographed Celtic and Swansea shirts on display amongst many others- it is Kennedy Town's "premier sports bar" after all!
A good, solid choice for a fun night out watching the footy.
2. The Globe (Central)
Minimum Spend: N/A
Recommended: Pirate Life IPA and any of their beers on tap
Address: G/F 45-53 Graham St, Garley Building, Central
Contact: 2543 1941
A pub with a place in the hearts of many long-term Hong Kong residents, The Globe will be showing all World Cup games apart from the 2am ones.
Features 5 TVs of varying sizes and projectors, one of which is in a quaint lounge area that could well be passed off as your own living room (but don't turn up in a nightie...)
Serves traditional British pub food such as sausages, fish and chips and the like, while ample seating and a large space should make for a rousing atmosphere.
Accepts bookings if your company of fellow football punters are strong in numbers.
3. Devil's Advocate (Wanchai)
Minimum Spend: N/A
Recommended: Beer. Any and all of it.
Address: G/F 48 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai
Contact: 2865 7271
Famous/infamous(?) for its $20 Wednesday nights, Devil's will also be getting in on the World Cup action while operating on a first-come-first served basis, showing every single game and remaining open for up to 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 2am fixtures.
A veteran of the Wanchai district compared to the newer bars that seem to come and go, it boasts 2 projector screens and 4 TVs screens.
One of the few bars out of those we've visited to run a promotional deal specific to the World Cup festivities, offering a massive and deliciously sinful sharing platter of chips, buffalo wings and the like with every Carlsberg order, so be sure to turn up in numbers and bring along substitutes!
4. Wan Chai Stadium (Wan Chai... obviously)
Minimum Spend: $150 minimum spend/head for seating space
Recommended: Budweiser and their World Cup nations-themed food menu (which means no pizza?)
Address: Shop A3, G/F, Hay Wah Building, 72-76 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
Contact: 3579 4466
With TV screens adorning every square inch of wall space not already occupied by a signed Liverpool jersey, another from Arjen Robben from his Real Madrid days and a huge live-sized Formula 1 Ferrari, who would have guessed this was Wanchai's newest sports bar?
The owners have certainly spared no expense in transforming the venue into what must be a football fan's idea of heaven- 2 x 100" screens, 2 x 65" screens and 6 x 43" screens mean that "you will have a view from every seat" and I personally won't be surprised if there's a hidden TV near the crapper.
In addition, the bar has the capability to broadcast 3 games simultaneously, with its Budweiser promotion and upcoming World Cup nations-themed food menu further reasons to patronise the new kid on the block.
5. Trafalgar (Wanchai)
Minimum Spend: $200 ENTRANCE FEE which includes 2 drinks.
$300 ENTRANCE FEE for knockout stages also including 2 drinks
Recommended: Stella Artois, Badger Golden Glory, Sambrooks
Address: 5/F, The Broadway, Wan Chai
Another seemingly permanent fixture in the Wan Chai district, Trafalgar will once again be televising every match of the World Cup inclusive of 2am fixtures.
Modelling itself to much success on a traditional British pub, it has 7 TV screens on the inside and 2 projectors in the beer garden. As such, booking is certainly advisable in order to secure a spot.
Prides itself on their imported British ales and ciders for those longing for a taste of home, or feeling adventurous.
Certainly a prime location to gather friends to partake in the World Cup festivities, with a sense of being away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
6. Delaney's (Tsim Tsa Tsui)
Minimum Spend: None until the semi-finals ($200)
Recommended: Guinness (of course), Carlsberg
Address: Mary Building, 71-77 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
Contact: 2301 3980
An institution in Kowloon since 1995, the traditional Irish pub is a stone's throw (or 4 minutes walk) from Tsim Tsa Tsui MTR.
While the pub is prepared to show all World Cup matches on a first-come-first-served basis, the 2am ones will be excluded until the elimination stages, with a $200 minimum spend levied from the semi-finals on.
Catch your fill of the action from its 100" projector screen, 2 x 60" screens and 2 smaller TVs.
Being an Irish pub, it adds a stamp of authenticity to their Guinness pours, though Carlsberg is quite popular among their sizeable Chinese clientele.
Also serves a variety of sausages, sandwiches, burgers and the usual sinfully delicious food choices that you absolutely savour in the moment but can't forgive yourself for later on.
7. Namo Avant Thai Restaurant