These are the first World Cup finals to take place in Africa and host South Africa will be celebrating the opening ceremony and Bafana Bafana’s first match against Mexico tonight at Alleycat’s Pizza Huashan, 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號) Tel: (02) 2395-6006. The Liaison Office of South Africa will be on hand and is offering free pizza and beer to the first 50 fans who turn up wearing South Africa colors. The match will be shown on the big screen.
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Expect to find the Aussies and the Kiwis cheering on the Socceroos and the All Whites at the Brass Monkey, 166 Fuxing N Rd, Taipei City (台北市復興北路166號), tel: (02) 2547-5050. All the games will be broadcast with English commentary, and the Monkey has teamed up with Adidas to offer a free draw. Prizes include shirts and World Cup Jabulani balls.
Word is that the boys from Japanese expat soccer team JFC will be congregating at On Tap, 49, Ln 308, Guangfu S Rd, Taipei City (台北市光復南路308巷49號), tel: (02) 2741-5365, to watch the Samurai Blue’s progress over the next month. There’s a 100-inch screen upstairs and a newly installed screen downstairs. A deposit of NT$5,000 behind the bar will get you a season ticket and a guaranteed seat for all of your chosen team’s matches. Weather permitting, On Tap will also be hosting a seven-a-side World Cup soccer tournament all day on Wednesday at Yingfeng Sports Park, next to Dajia Riverside Park, off Bingjiang Street (迎風河濱運動公園靠近濱江街) in Taipei.
There are plenty of Americans around, but not that many interested in the beautiful game. Those that are, however, may wish to amble along to the Barry Room, Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村百里廳), 7 Beiping E Rd, Taipei City (台北市北平東路7號), where the games will be shown on a giant projector screen. For the US’ three group games, Jack Daniels will be handing out a free shot every time the Stars and Stripes hit the back of the net. If you’d rather jog along to Tianmu, rumor has it some Americans will be making El Gallo, 42, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 7, Taipei City (台北市中山北路七段42號), tel: (02) 2874-1366, their base, at least for the opening match against England.
Word on the street is that Super Eagles fans will congregate at Carnegies, 100, Anhe Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市安和路二段100號), tel: (02) 2325-4433, with its huge 240-inch and 150-inch screens. The management will be providing a late-night menu for those 2:30am games and various bottled beers will be NT$99 while the matches are in progress.
Swiss fans will be found at the Swiss-owned FIFA-approved Tavern Premier 415, Xinyi Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市信義路四段415號), tel: (02) 8780-0892. Games involving both the Schweizer Nati and Germany will be broadcast in German in designated areas of the bar, while Japan’s matches will be broadcast with Japanese commentary. The kitchen will remain open for all the games and smokers will be glad to know the garden also has a big screen and seating for 80. The bar with the largest number of plasma screens and projectors in Taiwan, this place is likely to get busy, so it’s best to book in advance.
Germans will be making Tianmu their base for their next assault on the title, with Wendel’s, 5 Dexing W Rd, Taipei City (台北市德行西路5號), tel: (02) 2831-4592, their venue of choice for the group games. Wendel’s has devised a special snack menu for game nights. Those who don’t want to make the trek to Tianmu will be likely heading to either the Brass Monkey or the Tavern Premier.
No news on where the French will be heading to watch Les Bleus, but with their love of good cuisine, expect some to turn up at the Cafe at Far Eastern, Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, 6F, 210, Dunhua S Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路二段210號6F), tel: (02) 2738-8888. Executive chef David Ansted has created a South African buffet and there will be a lucky draw sponsored by South African Airways and the Master Football Association (MFA). Prizes include a return flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg. For parents with kids who catch the soccer bug during the next few weeks, MFA will be running weekend coaching sessions around the city. For more information, call (02) 2592-2877.
Investigations failed to uncover where those following reigning champions Italy will be heading for their group matches, but we’re sure a few will turn up at FIFA-approved Capones, 312, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市忠孝東路四段312號), tel: (02) 2773 3782. The restaurant will be showing all the games in high definition with English commentary and the kitchen will remain open for every match. For those with children who want a family-friendly atmosphere in which to watch the World Cup, Capone’s is a safe bet.
Annemarie Pot of Dutch-language social club VNT tells us many in the Dutch community will be donning their orange outfits and meeting up for the first game against Denmark on Monday in Tianmu at the Red Hut, 2, Ln 405, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 6, Taipei City (台北市中山北路六段405巷2號). The location for the second game against Japan has not yet been decided. It could be the Red Hut again or a jaunt to Malibu West, 9, Ln 25, Shuangcheng St, Taipei City (台北市雙城街25巷9號), tel: (02) 2592-8228.
There will be England fans in every nook and cranny: it’s not a case of where they’ll be, but where won’t they be. Expect On Tap, Brass Monkey, Tavern Premier, Carnegies and Capones all to be packed tomorrow night when England kick off against the US. Don’t expect to just turn up and get a seat, even at 2:30am, so book in advance. My Place, 3-1, Ln 32, Shuangcheng St, Taipei City (台北市雙城街32巷3-1號), tel: (02) 2591-4269, will show all the games live and is offering bottles of Heineken for NT$100 throughout the World Cup.
Additional reporting by Diane Baker, Neesha Wolf and Thomas Walk