Five great bars to watch Hong Kong-China World Cup showdown
If you haven’t got one of precious few tickets to the November 17 match in tiny Mong Kok Stadium, here’s where you can see the action ... and even boo
Hong Kong take on China in the biggest soccer match in the city in decades on November 17. After a draw away to the national side in Shenzhen in September, and having subsequently scored five goals against Myanmar in another qualifying match for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, Hong Kong has a chance to take all three points at home.
Given how few fans managed to get tickets for this potentially historic game in tiny Mong Kok Stadium (capacity around 6,000 - less than a fifth of that at Hong Kong Stadium), it’s all about choosing the best spot to watch the action on TV with a beer and - if you fancy - some good food.
Finding a good place to watch soccer in Hong Kong can be a fool’s errand, though, so we’ve weighed up the options and come up with five places to see the game.
For anyone who wants to get in among the throng lucky enough (or friendly enough with the HKFA’s sponsors) to have bagged a ticket for the big match, there are numerous dice and darts bars near the stadium, where Hong Kong soccer fans drink before and after matches. Just head to the Prince Edward end of Tung Choi Street.
The bars are all much of a muchness, but the friendliest staff along the road - though we grant you that isn’t saying much - are to be found at Point.
The beers are cheap and cold and the TV screens big. You’ll also be close enough to hear the roar of the Mong Kok Stadium crowd if Hong Kong score (or, more likely, the boos for the national anthem, March of the Volunteers.)
223B Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok Tel: 2796 2220
Just over the road from Point, and still within a stone’s throw of the stadium, is the curiously named Piss Bar. It stands out among its neighbours for its northern European theme, with a wider (if more expensive) beer selection and a fake deer’s head above the entrance.
For those looking to calm their nerves before Hong Kong’s biggest soccer match for a generation, it also sells the Philippines’ famous Red Horse on draught, though it’s not a beer for the faint-hearted. The hot bar snacks are good too.
214 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 9097 1426
Cafe de Fontaine
Watch the match al fresco in Mody Square, Tsim Sha Tsui, where Cafe de Fontaine’s European-style cafe seating attracts a big crowd - mostly locals, some tourists - to watch the match on several huge screens. The food menu is huge and almost comically broad in its offerings, but we recommend the Thai green curry.
The place isn’t cheap, with pints starting at more than HK$70 plus service charge. But get there before happy hour ends at 8pm and drinks like Asahi, Edelweiss and Strongbow are buy-one-get-one-free. The smart move is to buy one of their beer towers (also buy-one-get-one-free) and get your second later on for cold half-price beer that lasts until the final whistle.
Shop 9-10,G/F, South Seas Centre, 75 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 3421 1356
There are plenty of bars in Central and Mid-Levels that show soccer, but pretty much all of them have something distractingly annoying about them - so much so that people who just want to watch their chosen sport in good company baulk at the prices they pay for a few beers.
That’s why The Spot on Staunton Street is something special. There’s no pretence or extraneous rubbish about this compact sports bar – just decent beer, pleasant surroundings and a bunch of TVs, one of them about the size of a queen-size bed. A bottle of Tsingtao or VB will set you back HK$48, or you can splurge on an Edelweiss for HK$68.
The service is quick and friendly too. It’s not the biggest place in the area, so be sure to get there in good time to bag the best seats.
32 Staunton Street, Central. Tel: 2416 5588
Few places in Hong Kong are as well-known for their super-friendly service and fixation on showing live sports as Forbes 36 in Kennedy Town, which boast six high-definition TV screens. Just a 10-second walk from the nearest MTR station exit, it’s a big and airy place, popular with locals.
The menu boasts an array of filling pub food, with pizzas and meaty mains on offer, as well as sandwiches and pasta dishes. They’ve also recently started stocking the excellent Australian beer Coopers and, for those with younger spectators in tow, have a kids’ menu.
36 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town. Tel: 2813 5335