With Super Bowl XLIV and the Australian Open finals just around the corner, Shanghai ex-pat sports fans are bummin' hard, forced to cope with the reality that China just isn't the most convenient place to get your sport on, save for the NBA Houston Rockets games on rotation on CCTV.2010 will hit die-hard sports fans extra hard, given that the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the World Cup both happen to fall during the calendar year, but ChinaTravel.net has compiled a list of the city's top sports bars, so you're not forced to scurry around looking for a screen at the last minute. Whether you prefer the World Series or Champions League, the NHL Playoffs or the Cricket Champions League, Shanghai definitely has a sports bar to fit your needs, offering you the chance to catch a glimpse of your favorite teams and national pastimes in action.
Big BambooLocated on Nanyang Lu, behind the Portman Ritz Carlton, Big Bamboo is the consummate sports bar; beer mirrors and neon signs adorn the walls, along with select sports memorabilia. The bar boasts a number of large, flat-screen TVs, along with pool and foosball and a regular number of rowdy patrons. A bit on the pricey side, Big Bamboo has a solid selection of beer, wine and spirits and a select menu of classic bar food. This bar wins extra points for its central location, but is tough to manage on a limited budget. Best suited for: NFL, MLB, Champions League, Premier League How to get there: Take the Shanghai Metro to Jing'An Temple station (Line 2) 132 Nanyang Lu (021) 6256 2265 Bubba's Officially known as Bubba's Texas-style Bar-B-Que and Saloon, Bubba's is Shanghai's leading BBQ restaurant, as well as an excellent sports bar. Significantly smaller than Big Bamboo, Bubba's offers sports on 5-7 screens alongside a fine selection of American micro-brews. Located out in Gubei District, on Jianhe Lu, Bubba's is a bit more intimate than other sports bars, but the food is top rate (go for the pulled pork), and their RMB 70 set lunch is perfect for afternoon games. Best suited for: NFL, MLB, ATP, World Cup How to get there: Only accessible by taxi 2262 Hongqiao Lu, near Jianhe Lu (021) 6242 2612 The Bulldog Still known to some as the British Bulldog, the Bulldog dropped their U.K.-related prefix in 2008 in an effort to attract a more diverse group of patrons. With a 2-for-1 beer special all the time and a 2-for-1 entrée special on Monday nights (beef pies, chicken pies and pasties are where it's at), the Bulldog is three floors of English craziness; the closest you'll find in this city to a soccer riot. Located on Wulumuqi Lu, near Hengshan Lu, the Bulldog's downtown location makes it easily accessible and a great place to hit the lash. Best suited for: World Cup, Premier League, Champions League, Cricket Champions League, Rugby How to get there: Take the Shanghai Metro to Hengshan Lu station (Line 1) 1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, near Dongping Lu (021) 6466 7878 O'Malley's As the name suggests, O'Malley's is an Irish establishment, and home to one of Shanghai's biggest beer gardens. While you won't find North American sports on high rotation, O'Malley's is aces on the Euro sports scene, breaking out their tents and halls for the World Cup and Rugby World Cup. Beers are pricey (a Tiger draft runs RMB 50), but they also offer a thorough menu of Irish bar-food staples, and have family-brunch every Sunday. Best suited for: World Cup, Rugby World Cup How to get there: Take the Shanghai Metro to Hengshan Lu station (Line 1) 42 Taojiang Lu, near Hengshan Lu (021) 6474 4533 Champions Sports Bar Located inside the Marriott Hotel Hongqiao, Champions is a classic hotel sports bar. Its proximity to Hongqiao Airport makes Champions popular with business travelers, and their daily live coverage of national and international sports action on 34 screens makes it one of the largest sports bars in Shanghai. The American-style menu features towering sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, fresh salads and tasty finger food. Best suited for: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, ATP, PGA How to get there: Only accessible by taxi 2270 Hongqiao Lu, near Jianhe Lu (021) 6237 6000, ext. 6651 Malone's One of Shanghai's oldest Western establishments, Malone's has been serving up burgers and beers for the past 15 years. With locations in both Puxi and Pudong, Malone's is a favorite with older ex-pats and is a reliable venue to watch both the Superbowl and the World Series, as well as listen to their "renowned" cover band. Best suited for: NFL, MLB How to get there: Take the Shanghai Metro to Jing'An Temple station (Line 2) 255 Tongren Lu, near Nanjing Xi Lu (Puxi) (021) 6247 2400 Take the Shanghai Metro to Science & Technology Museum Thumb Plaza 199 Fangdian Lu, Shop 17, near Yanggao Zhong Lu (Pudong) (021) 5033 6717 photos courtesy of 2 Dogs