Your sporting friend in Mong Kok
Sports bars are funny things. They’re at their best when the smell of beer has seeped into the very wood of the bar; when the air is thick with the emotions of triumphs and tragedies alike; when there’s a certain gritty edge to the establishment. So it was a little disconcerting to hear that, above the bizarre astrological-themed ‘spiral’, photo sticker machines, and Cantopop performances in Langham Place, a new branch of our beloved Amici was opening.
Being located in an enormous mall is both Amici’s best and worst feature. It suffers slightly from the centre’s strange artificiality and, in particular, the eerie blue Langham Place glow. But at the same time, it really benefits from the excellent space it occupies – one that would be extremely rare outside the setting of a hotel or shopping centre – enjoying precipitous views down through Langham Place and vistas extending all the way to the Hong Kong Island skyline.
Indeed, despite any initial reservation, the new Amici slowly wins you over. And although management says they’re pushing the new branch’s restaurant a little more than the Wan Chai bar (there’s one on Lockhart Road if you didn’t know), the Mong Kok branch excels when the screens are switched on, when the crowd comes alive, and the players take the pitch.
As you’d expect, the successful elements from the Wan Chai original have been adopted here. The familiar red and green chairs, which are perfectly designed so you can watch game after game without rear-end pain, again dominate the bar, and the trophy-cabinet has been replicated on the Kowloon side, although it currently possesses about as much silverware as England’s national football team. The main area is broad, open, and atmospheric, featuring several long couches, a small elevated space and a high ceiling that allows an enormous projector screen to drop from the skies. But if you’re after a more private or low-key experience, Amici gives you this option, with a series of booths each fitted with a private television for your sports-viewing pleasure. We don’t think this is available anywhere
else in the city and, frankly, we think it’s cool.
With the ability to broadcast two different games at the same time, you can sit in the booth and pick your game of choice, or you can move into the main room where you can enjoy two matches simultaneously (for some reason, men can multi-task when it comes to watching sport).
Add in fairly reasonably priced drinks (pint of Hoegaarden $62, Gaymer’s Cider $65) and their famous pizzas, and you’ve got a solid sports-watching venue.
Of course, Amici doesn’t just cater for the sporting crowd, with its comfortable surrounds and view making for a decent spot for a quiet drink – more attractive, at least, than Mes Amis located immediately opposite it. Considering the dearth of decent drinking spots in Mong Kok, the opening of Amici in the district’s commercial heart is a shrewd move. It’s sure to be competitive in the Kowloon market, and a hit with sports fans.
Shop 5, Level 13, Langham Place, Mong Kok, 2148 1009; www.amicihk.com. H/H 4pm-8pm
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