I gave the World Cup a red card after the Japan-Cameroon game for boring the life out of me. After a few days off, I got back to watching matches this weekend. Places visited…
Serbia 1, Germany 0
Kiosk: Standing-room only crowd that included citizens not only of Serbia, the homeland of gregarious owner Sasha, but also a half-dozen other nations. Watched most of the first half here while waving away cigar smoke, enjoying a “big bite” burger, and watching DJ Chunky scarf down a chicken sandwich. The food is excellent value.
United States 3 2, Slovenia 2
George’s: Not a sports bar, but with a big screen, a cozy chair, some blues and jazz, and a well-made dirty martini, I was happy. The comeback by the United States rekindled my interest in the World Cup though that nonsensical decision to disallow the third American goal with five minutes left showed why I will probably never be a long-term fan of this sport. It’s nice to have such epiphanies while getting plastered on quality cocktails.
Ghana 1, Australia 1
Ned’s: In the annals of Australian history, I am sure numerous citizens of that country have at one time said “I probably shouldn’t have another beer” and am sure few have decided to follow through on the sentiment. Certainly no one appeared to do so at Ned’s last night. No doubt due in part to an earlier rugby game that saw England edge Australia by a point, many Aussies here were nine sheets to the wind and I half-expected a VB bottle to be hurled through the screen during tenser moments. On the other hand, this is the type of camaraderie that sees people hold up a mate so he can funnel that ‘another’ beer down his throat. Summary: Rowdy crowd packed into a hot bar and armed with ice-cold beer.
12SQM: What would have been a rather sedate post-game experience at this Aussie-managed bar became entertaining when the guy sitting – wedged? – in the window frame decided to share his views on The French, Beijing restaurants, and other topics. Much more entertaining than debating whether or not the dingo stole the gravy.
Denmark 2, Cameroon 1
1F: Busy as usual even at 2:30 AM though the furniture arrangement makes it difficult to get to the toilets. Wouldn’t some kind of waist-high room divider(s) help funnel people? (More peeing equals more drinking equals more earnings.) Anyway, screens inside and outside, a very good beer selection, and a couple sloppily making out on the patio. (If you ever read of two people dying from swallowing one another’s tongues, it will likely be them.)
Aperitivo: Cute Italian girls drinking Aperol cocktails and kind of watching the World Cup. This should be a fun spot to watch the Italy-New Zealand game tonight. By the way, that replica of the World Cup that owner Stefano mounted on the wall after Italy won in 2006 is missing. Is it in storage? Is it hidden behind the bar? Was it stolen? (In that case, my guess would be the Slovenians took it.) A mystery in Sanlitun…