The Super Bowl inspires hundreds of NFL devotees, fair-weather fans, and seekers of an excuse to guzzle early morning beers to get together and watch American football in Beijing. This year more than a dozen Beijing bars will show The Big Game. Kickoff is 7:30 AM, Monday, February 7, Beijing time. Below are some places that will show the game, with the most recent info underlined. While I do my best to put this info together, if you have any doubts, it is best to call the venue ….
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THE KEY CONTENDERS
The Goose and Duck/Frank’s Place (map): The Goose and Duck is like the seasoned quarterback who is sidelined with a nagging groin injury. In other words, though the GND has drawn big during the past seven Super Bowls, this time around it is under renovations. Regulars should consider hoofing it to Frank’s Place in Lido since a) it usually draws a decent crowd and b) The GND’s John Harkness now runs it. The deal is breakfast and two drinks for RMB100. (If you were wondering, the place still hasn’t been renamed Johnny Duck’s. Let’s pray it never is.)
The Den (map): Another longstanding popular place to catch the Super Bowl. As usual, the RMB50 entry fee and includes breakfast. Expect to also find RMB15 pints of local draft and Bloody Marys. The Den is like that twelve-year All-Pro lineman who is a bit beat up but dependable.
Tim’s Texas BBQ (map): The only place that offers both a breakfast and lunch buffet. Wash ‘em down with RMB20 Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers. Bonus: the Super Bowl is in Dallas this year and Tim’s is about as close to a Texas feel as you will get in Beijing. If it were a player, Tim’s would be that full back who can bust through the middle or take a pass and go outside–you just hope he’s running the right way.
Paddy O’Shea’s (map): I imagine manager Karl Long ranks the following sports ahead of American football: soccer (referred to as “football” in some countries), rugby, cricket, F1, hurling, and Scottish Premier League caber tossing. But that doesn’t stop him from attracting plenty of punters who pound down pancakes and pints of Guinness. Paddy’s is like that wide receiver who only catches two balls a game but at least one is for a spectacular touchdown. And this year it is teaming up with NFL China and sports league organizers Mashup Asia. Expect a RMB100 breakfast special with bottomless coffee and beer as well as plenty of giveaways.
The Irish Volunteer (map): This modestly sized spot offers a reasonably priced breakfast and typically good armchair quarterback talk. If it were a player, The Volunteer would be a diminutive punt returner that constantly threatens to run it back for a touchdown. Update: Seats being reserved on first come, first serve basis. Super Bowl breakfast (three eggs, toast, bacon, etc) at RMB35, bottomless coffee at RMB15 (add Bailey’s for RMB15), Tsingtao at RMB10, bucket of beer deal, and lucky draws. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
The Union Bar & Grille (map): Became a contender with its first Super Bowl party last year. The breakfast is pricey (RMB130) but the seats are comfy, the picture quality is excellent, and this is about as “high end” as you get for Super Bowl viewing in Beijing. Main issue: a few sightlines are slightly blocked by banks of candles, though this might add an element of romance for some. If it were a football player, the Union would be that running back who racks up the numbers but also draws a massive salary.
Luga’s Villa (map): Last year, it pulled off the equivalent of a Hail Mary by having four New England Patriots cheerleaders perform. Expect the standard breakfast and beer deals. If it were a player, it would be that somewhat unpredictable journeyman you pick up in the hopes of getting a big play rather than an on-field, or off-field, implosion.
Those are some obvious choices. Now, for some more spots….
THE EXPANSION TEAMS
Grinders (map): This relative newcomer just added a big screen and will offer some kind of breakfast special, says management. An option for those in Shuangjing.
The Stumble Inn (map): The second edition of this pub hosts its first Super Bowl party in Sanlitun Village. If you like craft brews with your bowl, you’ll like the menu here.
Green Cap Pub (map): Those in Shunyi can get breakfast for RMB60, with refills available for the asking.
THE WILD CARDS
All-Star Sports Bar (map): This Solana based establishment has dozens of screens. If you have problems paying attention, this is the spot for you. (I don’t see anything re Super Bowl on the All-Star web site or Facebook page and no one answered when I called a few minutes ago. Suggest you call ahead.)
Blue Frog (map): This place had signal problems last year but will give it another go this year. The DIY Bloody Mary kit is a good early morning option.
Hooters (map): They have also had satellite problems and resorted to showing the game in Mandarin in past years.
NOLA (map): Will show the game with a projector upstairs and on the flat screen downstairs. Expect a breakfast-brunch combo for RMB95 plus Mimosas, Screwdrivers, and Hurricanes for RMB30.
Pyro Pizza: These guys have been a good option for NFL fans in Wudaokou. I’m waiting to hear if this place will show the game this year. (Still haven’t heard back.)
Saddle Cantina: Likewise, I’m waiting word on whether or not the game will be screened. (Still haven’t heard back.)
THE DARK HORSES
Danger Doyle’s: These guys were clueless when I dropped by last year to see if they would have any specials for the game. It even took a while to convince them The Super Bowl was different from The Premier League. If bars were players, this would be the guy with the concussion.
NOTE: Pavillion will not be showing the game, Pavillion: Now partnered with New Zealand band Solidaz, it has shifted away from sports to live music, but I’ll contact the management to see if the game will be shown. If these guys can do other Queen songs as well as they do Bohemian Rhapsody, they can finish the event with a kick-ass rendition of We Are the Champions.
Chateau Schloss: Enjoy a 55-inch HD TV with surround sound as well as bottomless coffee, Bloody Marys, and Bloody Caesars with a local wit. Apparently, invite only.