In Tsim Sha Tsui, there’s a new bar dedicated to Manchester United. Emblazoned on its walls are the words, “If you’re second, you are nothing.” Ironic, right? (Insert your own smart-arse comment here.)
From here, this review could easily descend into a tirade of anti-United sentiment, stopping to dwell on the fact that the richest football club in the world finished the English Premier League season as mere runners-up. But, to do so would detract from the fact that, as far as football-watching drinking arenas go, there are few that can deliver such viewing pleasure as this new glowing shrine to the Red Devils.
The secret to its success is simple: there are screens. Lots of them. Everywhere. No fewer than a dozen screens dot the long, sprawling space – from the mounted TVs in the Theatre of Dreams’ caged-off dug outs, to the expansive projector at the rear. In every nook and cranny, football glows – and on top of that, they know what fans are after. Capacity to show several simultaneous games? Check. Commentary and sound turned up for proper football-watching atmosphere? Check. There’s nothing apologetic about its focus – it is all about the football.
Oh, it’s also about Manchester United. The low-ceilinged space glows in a glossy red. Triumphant pictures, history lessons and wise words from Sir Alex adorn the walls. And at least during the season, a looped ‘Glory Glory Man United’ provides the pre-game soundtrack.
Indeed, rival fans might find this obsession hard to stomach. If the parochialism all gets a bit much, though, you can at least take solace in a drink – a Man U-themed beverage perhaps? The obligatory signature cocktails on offer sound more lethal than they do delicious. The Red Devils ($88), containing a total of 12 spirits, liqueurs and mixers, is an ambitious mix at bringing the flavours and colours of an multi-national football team into a single drink. And listed on the menu next to the Ferdinand ($78) are tequila, rum, triple sec, bourbon, brandy, Grand Marnier, Galliano, sour mixed and grenadine – which we took as either being the drink’s ingredients or a roll call of booze downed by Rio over the weekend.
But it’s in the beer menu where the drinks menu impresses, sporting a long list of imported British ales. Almost the entire range of Scotland’s Brewdog is available, from their Trashy Blonde ($62) right up to their Sink the Bismarck ($80/shot) – which, clocking in at 41 per cent ABV, is reportedly the strongest beer in the world. Ales from Thornbridge, Hawkshead, Fyne Ales breweries appear on the menu as well ($78).
The Manchester United bar may have opened a little too late to host many games from their team’s unsuccessful Premier League campaign, but there is a little something called the World Cup just around the corner. And few places are better set up for the football experience than the Red Devils’ new home in Hong Kong.
32-34 Lock Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2366 4880, www.manutdrcb.com.hk.
|Venue name:||Manchester United Restaurant Bar|