Staying up late for football is a rarity for me but I found myself outdoors and watching the Champions League final in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Jianwai Soho. And despite the rain, the venue, Winning League, provided an excellent atmosphere. Some highlights:
- A five-on-five tournament — and many pickup games — that used the handful of pitches at this place. You could watch everything from uniformed and soundly equipped teams engaging in at-times highly physical play to guys with bare feet, rolled up jeans and, in one case, a cigarette just goofing around.
- A foosball tournament at four tables adjacent to the pitches.
- A rock band.
- Onstage games, including a drinking contest to see which of two teams could finish five liters of Heineken first.
- Unlimited Heineken with the rmb100 entry fee.
I saw quite a few pizza boxes and one patron said it is possible to order in pies. The place also has snacks available, such as caramel candy and crackers. And there is an indoor area, with a bar: on this night, about 100 people camped out to watch the football game and the Nadal-Ferrer tennis match.
Overall, a good experience, even if it meant struggling to find a taxi in the dawn’s early light.
Thanks to Kenny for convincing me to go and to Roy and Grant, two guys who saw me wondering around Jianwai Soho and who directed me to Winning League, close to Yintai Center, and were no doubt happy their team won. Word is there are plans to show more major matches this summer and I recommend checking one out.