With the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup just hours away, bar owners across Beijing are preparing to accommodate the legion of international soccer fans heading to bars to enjoy a cold one while watching the matches. Perhaps the "official" venue is the Goose and Duck, near Chaoyang Park East Gate.
For the past three months, Goose and Duck owner John Harkness and his staff have been working closely with the South African 2010 World Cup Celebration in Beijing Committee to provide fans with the best place to watch the matches.
No expense has been spared to bring together activities and food, planned in conjunction with the committee.
"We have brought Beijing alive with South African ambience," said Nkosinathi Dlakavu, one of the committee members. "Within days we will hear the South African horn across the Beijing. That on its own would be a symbol of accomplishment."
South African Ambassador Ndumiso Ndima Ntshinga will be present at the Goose and Duck on Friday during the World Cup's opening ceremony.
"South Africa managed to meet FIFA's expectations when a lot of people doubted they could. It's a big deal and we want to show the South Africans our support," Harkness said.
To recreate the feel of a South African stadium, the Goose and Duck will sell vuvuzelas, a straight horn instrument often used at sports festivals in Africa, and makarapas, painted hats commonly used to show team support at African sporting events, for 50 yuan each.
Harkness has even employed Ghana native Rose Zamoa, managing director and chef for Zamoa Continental, an Afro-Caribbean catering company, to cook batches of Boerwors, a hotdog-hoagie hybrid served at stadiums throughout Africa.
He said he would also have rotating drink specials, based on which country is playing.
"For example, if Germany's playing, we'll be doing specials on Jagermeister. If it's Mexico, tequila," Harkness said.
While the Goose and Duck may be going all out, Irish sports pub Paddy O'Shea's in Dongzhimenwai, near Sanlitun, will be taking the games in its stride.
"We are always a football bar, not just during the tournament. Most bars are going through big preparations, but we are doing this all the time," said Karl Long, manager and part owner of Paddy O'Shea's.
In the spirit of friendly international competition, however, Long said it will run what he calls the ABF (Anything But France), campaign where patrons will get free drinks when goals are scored or yellow or red cards are awarded against France.
"We're doing this because during the France versus Ireland qualifying match, Thierry Henry scored a goal using his hand," said the Irishman, who is supporting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's team.
During the tournament, there will be discounts on drinks and regular sweepstakes, but Long said true fans would come out to watch regardless of any deal on offer.
"If real fans who commit to watching every single match turn up, and it is possible to do so, then it should be a good time," he said. "I know I'm going to be watching every game."
At the All-Star Sports Bar and Grill, near the Solana shopping mall, it's not only about watching every game - it's about watching it from every angle. With more than 32 plasma screen TVs, include a nine-screen concoction which fills nearly an entire wall, All-Star is going for the visual gold.
"We are a sports bar and if you're here, it shows. We have tons of TVs on every wall, perhaps the most TVs in any bar in all of China," owner Richard Wang said.
Wang said All-Star will expand its 5 pm to 2 am hours to meet the need of every game. "If there's a game from 2 am to 4 am, we'll be open to 4 am," he said.
Wang said he is expecting a huge crowd, comparable to what it had during the Beijing Olympics.
"We are a sports bar and the World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world," Wang said. "For a lot of people it means more than the Olympics."
Add: 28 Dongzhimen Waidajie
Tel: 6415-6389Open: 11 am - 2am, during matches
Add: East Side of Chaoyang Park, S1, Green Lake International Tower
Tel: 59283045/46/47Open: 24/7
Add: 81 Sanlitun North Road
Tel: 6413-1002Open: During matches