Quadrennial soccer fans (and die-hards) unite

From traditional sports bars to ethnic restaurants to the beach, it’s hard not to get caught up in the World Cup festivities, which kick off next week

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 13

Ok, let’s get the obvious out of the way: almost all Western-style sports bars in Taiwan, including Brass Monkey, Patio 84, Le Ble d’Or and Gordon Biersch, will be showing nearly every game of the FIFA World Cup, which will be held between Wednesday and July 15. It would be foolish for the venues not to.

In fact, chances are that the dingy bar down the alley will be showing at least some of the World Cup games. With its men’s team ranked 121st in the world, Taiwan isn’t much of a soccer power — but public fanaticism for the quadrennial battle of world powers remains as high as ever, even though many only transform into soccer fans for the occasion.

TAIWAN’S TEAM

On a side note, Taiwan’s soccer team won its first international championship in 59 years by besting the Philippines (ranked 111), Laos (179) and Timor-Leste (190) in a self-hosted tournament in December, bringing the country a little bit closer to a shot at the holy grail.

If shiny sports bars are not your thing, Caverna Spirit Bar, BeerGeek, On Tap and Another Brick are among an extensive list of cozier places that will be broadcasting all games — just make sure you arrive early to get good seats as some will only set up one screen. If you don’t want to be indoors at all, Kaohsiung’s Cijin Sunset Bar (旗津沙灘吧) will be showing the games on a big screen at the beach with a kickoff party on June 16, hosted by DJ Marcus Aurelius.

To fully experience the fervor of people rooting for their own country or your favorite team, head to restaurants that serve the cuisine of said nation. Gaucho, an Argentine establishment with both inside and outside seating at Maji Maji Square, will be flooded with a sea of light-blue and white jerseys during Argentine game days — in fact, the restaurant’s Facebook cover photo is still a scene from 2014’s festivities.

Peruvian favorite Mama Inca will be celebrating the country’s return to the World Cup after 36 years, starting with a bash for the June 17 match against Denmark. For Germany… well, you know the drill.

It’s really not that hard to find a place to soak in that World Cup spirit. It just depends on the atmosphere you’re looking for.