Yeah, these updates come from Sunday, but if the French team can skip practice and mope on a bus, then I can take some time off, no? Places visited…
Souk: What do you want first, the bad news or the good news? Let’s go with the bad news. It looks like more than two-thirds of the dozens of bottled beers listed on the menu are no longer available. There was no Yanjing dark draft. And Corona has been replaced by Sol at five kuai more per bottle – doesn’t it usually work the other way around? The menus themselves are beat up, with running text, and the sofa we used sagged and creaked as if it were on the point of collapse.
The good news: The patio near the door looks like a good spot to catch a match or two, though if you want to save the frustration of hearing “we don’t have that” you best stick to common brew such as Heineken and Tiger or to Tsingtao pints at RMB20. And the place does have two large screens and several smaller ones inside, a certain rough charm, and a staff that seems nice enough if not particularly efficient.
Paraguay 2, Slovakia 0
Parkside Bar & Grill: A light crowd inside, a heavier one outside. Matches come with English-language commentary that, similar to other places, was about a half-dozen seconds behind the video. There are several large screens inside and an even bigger one on the deck.
I caught the tail end of happy hour: Samual Adams is RMB20 per bottle. And I tried the club sandwich (RMB48): Tasty, though it looked diminutive on that big plate (maybe a garnish would help). I found the fries too heavy and that tiny bowl of ketchup far from enough. And the ghost of poor service seems to be following chef Zach Lewison, who recently came from Union, where the staff have long seemed averse to providing silverware. The Parkside staff forgot it, too.
Pine Hill: Next door to Parkside, it has Korean-language commentary for the World Cup games, just in case you like Hangul with your bibimbap.
Rosedale Hotel: The beer garden has brew from RMB13, plus chuar and other typical drinking fare.
Frank’s Place: About a dozen people on hand, though it was between games. Manager Vish said a large group of Brazilians were booked for the late game.
Lido Hotel: What distinguishes this beer garden from the one at Rosedale Hotel? For one thing, the fruit plates on display are much fancier.
New Zealand 1, Italy 1
Eudora Station: Again, the biggest draw in Lido with 100-plus people on the patio watching the matches (Chinese-language commentary), more than all of the other none beer-garden spots I visited put together. About 20 to 30 people camped inside to take advantage of the air-con.
Irish Volunteer: About a dozen people on hand, meaning it was almost half-full.
Café Del Mar: The Tsingtao is RMB15, apparently the Filipino band is good, the food passing by looked OK, there were three screens showing the World Cup, and, this may be a downside or an upside depending on how you view such things, a couple of women seemed intent that I would “spend some time” with them.
Aperitivo: As expected, the Italians were out in force to watch their team manage a draw against New Zealand, a disappointment especially since the team laundry bill will be massive given how much time the players spent rolling about. This place has a decent Sicilian red (Nero D’Avola) at RMB38 per glass, though it looked like most people were content with the Aperol-based cocktails.