At the intersection of Yueyang Lu and Dongping Lu. Depending on how you roll, that's either across from The Villa
, around the corner from Paul
, down the road a bit from Abbey Road
, The Beaver
, and Mao
...directly across the street from Dragon
It depends how you value your Shanghai landmarks.
What is it:
Shanghai's newest addition to the incestuous, contentious, contestable community of "sports bars". It’s got the space, it's got the buzz
, it boasts the TV screens, and the beer is cold.
The Camel is managed by an Aussie who did a stint at Kommune
, so it's a coming from that country's fine heritage of really taking sports on a television in a bar very seriously. The concept feels built around providing the best atmosphere for watching The Big Game. There are 14 flat screens in all, broken up into three separate viewing areas, capable of providing individualized commentaries. Main events are on two large projector screens: one in the largest main area in the front, and the second in a smaller, private area in the back. The rest of it comes from that -- value sport first, build bar around what is necessary to enjoy sport, after. What else: two free pool tables, two free dart boards, a free foosball table.
They also do food, which is standard gastro fare with the emphasis on a list of rotating daily specials -- 100rmb for a meal and 2 pints (burger night is Mondays, steak night is Tuesday, fish and chips night is Fridays, etc.). The menu is put together by Brendon Brophy (ex-Dubliner, ex-Prime).
Back to the sports: they're piping in Foxtel from Australia, so they can show Aussie Rules football direct. Keep track of what they're showing here
Spacious. Masculine. Clean. It's all brand new so it feels like a large, mid-to-up range sports bar. It reflects a younger management and feels like a younger bar for younger lads -- a bar for guys who still play sports themselves in pick-up leagues. It doesn't have that faded glory, rough-around-the-edges pub feel. New wood, new leather, not so much sports crap on the walls yet. Feels like two pints into the big game as opposed to 10 pints in, smashed glasses, and dreading going home to the wife. The backroom, available for private bookings, is really quite nice, with its serious leather couches and private bar. The main front room is massive and open, and feels good for large events -- i.e. World Cup -- catering to a big communal crowd.
One of the key points of interest of the place is the flat screen in the men's bathroom. The flat screen is not mounted above the urinal, as you would expect, but is literally IN the actual communal urinal behind a plexi-glass thing. This means you can piss on the TV. I pissed on a cricket player... at least I think it was cricket.
Guinness is 60rmb a pint. The range of other drafts -- Kilkenny, Tetley's, Stella, Hofbrew, Strongbow -- is in the 40rmb to 60rmb range. Bottles -- VB, Boag’s, Blonde, Crown Lager, Fosters, along with the staples (Bud, Corona, etc.) -- are 30rmb-45rmb. An ample list of reworked classic mixes are 55rmb.
Food wise, I'd bring a couple hundred.
Happy hour deal is 4pm to 8pm daily, with 25rmb bar draft (Carlsberg) and 25rmb on selected bottles (VB).
Oh you know... fashion designers, image consultants, personal stylists, conceptual artists.
Nah, I'm thinking the significant Aussie slant is going to be well received by the hordes of Shanghai Australians. Also in general, younger expats who take sports really seriously and want to watch them in a nice place are going to be pleased.
And also, as I was sipping my Cheapest Pint Possible (25rmb Carlsberg) and thinking to myself who would go to The Camel, two words rang out in my mind: