The buzz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 March, 2011, 12:00am

The Hong Kong Sevens: that time of the year when oversized men in rugby jerseys run about screaming and attacking each other. Apparently, some rugby gets played as well, but you'd be forgiven for not noticing that amid all of the debauchery, decadence and depravity that seizes the city at this time of year.

When it comes to the Sevens, there's two types of people in Hong Kong: those who take part in the annual brawl for tickets and then debate whether to dress as Borat or Marilyn Monroe, and those who throw their hands over their heads in horror and go into hiding until it all goes away. Although I belong to the latter camp, I must say I've never actually been, as I was embarrassed to admit this week to my rugby-playing friend, Adam Raby, who has made the Hong Kong team this year.

I bumped into Raby in Lan Kwai Fong as I trawled through the island's drinking districts speaking to bar managers and staff about their plans for the upcoming weekend of madness. And the plan formulated by the bar manager at Solas on Wyndham Street is pretty typical of what's going on at most bars and nightspots after the games finish: 'Basically, we're going to clear out all the furniture, order double the regular amount of booze and focus on moving as many drinks as possible over the bar.'

Not many venues are planning dedicated post-game events this year - which is perhaps not that surprising considering alcohol doesn't require much promotion during the Sevens. More than half a million pints of beer were sold at Hong Kong Stadium alone last year, after all, and the total consumed overall during the three-day event would run well into the millions.

Outside of the South Stand, most of the Sevens-related drinking action will be focused on the Sevens Village at the Indian Recreation Club next to the stadium. From Friday through to Sunday, the village will be opening from 8.30am, showing the matches live on giant screens and serving lashings of food and drink. Then after the games, the venue will also host the biggest after-party in the form of the Louis Roederer Champagne Tent, which will feature live music and DJs, and copious amounts of bubbly, of course.

Bar staff in Wan Chai have been nervously awaiting the approaching storm which will turn Lockhart Road into a scene from a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The area is likely to be the first - and final - port of call for many fans staggering out of the stadium, and you won't be able to throw a rugby ball without hitting a drinks special. For example, Typhoon and Swindlers will offer beer by the yard glass, Coyote will plug its 1.5-litre margarita fishbowls and the Jagermeister girls will pour test tubes of their potent digestif down throats all along the strip.

Central will soak up those wanting to avoid the scenes of horror to the east, and many bars in Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo will offer slightly more sophisticated ways to take part in Hong Kong's biggest sporting event. Bars such as McSorley's Ale House on Elgin Street and Pure on Shelley Street will show the games live on big screens, and host post-game celebrations. On Saturday morning, Pure will also give rugby fans a chance to be photographed with the official Webb Ellis Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Rugby World Cup.

Right, it's time to go into hiding. Be back when the dust settles.