SINGAPORE — Singapore may not have qualified for the Fifa World Cup, but that does not mean its football fans do not know how to have a good time during the live telecasts when the tournament kicks off at midnight (Singapore time) on Monday (21 November).
Whether you have subscribed for the live telecasts or not, there is always a reason to check out the many public screenings around the island - whether it's a night out with your football friends, or simply that you just want to enjoy the communal atmosphere.
So here are the various venues where you can enjoy World Cup live screenings:
1. Community clubs, ActiveSG sport centres
Thanks to the People's Association (PA), you can enjoy the free World Cup live screenings right in the heartlands of Singapore. PA will be hosting the live screenings at a whopping 63 locations around the island - at 58 community clubs (CCs) and five ActiveSG sport centres.
Besides the live telecasts, there will also be fringe activities at the CCs, such as e-sports console games, various sports try-outs, Subbuteo and Foosball table games, mini soccer challenges as well as live performances and prize giveaways.
The various venues and telecast schedules are available on the PA website.
Plus: This is as "heartland" of a football crowd as you can get, and that means a terrific atmosphere during the major World Cup matches. And there is no need to dress for the occasion - you can come in pyjamas for all you like, no one will bat an eyelid.
Minus: Comfort comes at a premium here. You either come early to get the limited seats, or you will have to stand around or sit on the ground to watch the matches. And on sweltering nights, it may be wise to bring along a hand-held fan to beat the heat.
2. SAFRA, HomeTeamNS clubhouses
Another great heartland viewing option is at the SAFRA and HomeTeamNS clubhouses, most of which are located amid the HDB towns around Singapore.
These locations will probably have classier and more comfortable settings than at the CCs, but the atmosphere will be similarly raucous, especially in highly-anticipated matches involving well-supported teams like Brazil or England.
SAFRA clubhouses: Jurong, Mount Faber, Punggol, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Yishun.
HomeTeamNS clubhouses: Balestier, Bedok Reservoir, Bukit Batok, Chinatown, Khatib.
Plus: Settings are more comfortable than the CCs, with similar casual atmosphere.
Minus: Maybe not so casual as to go to these clubhouses wearing pyjamas? Also, unless you live near the clubhouses, you may need to take taxis or private-hire cars to reach the locations.
3. McDonald's restaurants
If you are those who believe watching World Cup football must go hand in hand with eating delicious fast food, then there can be no better place to do both than at selected McDonald's restaurants.
While the exact details are not out yet, the fast food chain has screened the live matches at the 2018 World Cup, and looks likely to do so again at their 24-hour outlets.
Plus: Fast food and football, two of the biggest guilty pleasures in life, all in one place. Just be careful not to get food coma, or you will miss the great action.
Minus: Very limited seats with good views of the TV screens. And some of the patrons may not be fans, so the atmosphere may just be so-so.
4. Prominent public places
If there is a big TV screen at a prominent public place, there is a good chance that it will be showing some of the live World Cup games.
These locations are usually located near malls, so you get get your shopping fix before heading over to catch the late-night matches:
Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Square (from December);
National Library Building plaza (only for third-place playoff and final);
Downtown East event square (free screenings for 25 matches);
St3ps at Changi Airport Terminal 3 Basement 2 (live screening schedule to be updated here);
Lau Pa Sat (live screening of all matches with live band performances);
Resorts World Sentosa (ticketed event for third-place playoff and final);
Plus: With plenty of amenities near these public places, you can have a nice dinner and do some shopping before settling yourself in for the live matches. Here's an idea: buy a takeout dinner and have a nice picnic while you watch the live matches.
Minus: Atmosphere can be compromised by the constant flow of human traffic around these places.
5. Pubs and sports bars
If you really want to party hard while you watch your favourite football teams at the World Cup, then head on down to the numerous pubs and sports bars around Singapore that are showing the matches live on their TV screens. There's nothing better than singing football anthems drunkenly with fellow fans.
Below is a sample of bars which have confirmed on their social media pages that they will be screening live matches:
Chijmes: Indulge in the host of F&B offerings, while catching the World Cup action on its big 360° screen. There will also be live bands, dance performances and music by international DJs.
CÉ LA VI: Catch the World Cup final at the top of Marina Bay Sands, with 65-inch TVs in the Club Lounge and Skybar. Tickets are priced at $38 nett per person.
Singapore Recreation Club: The club will be screening live matches at the Padang free for SRC members. Guests can pay the $15 entry fee, which includes a beer or soft drink. There will also be activities such as futsal/soccer competitions and a World Cup-themed Zumba session.
Hollandse Club: Matches will be screened at 6pm and 9pm at the Camden Hill Bar, while 12am and 3am matches will be live at the Asia 1 Room.
Cafe Football Singapore: As its name suggests, the football-themed cafe offers hearty food to go along with the live matches.
Boomarang: The long-standing cafe and bar at Robertson Quay will be opening its doors on game day with its big screens showing the game.
The Penny Black: One of the many pubs lining Boat Quay which will be showing the matches on their TV screens.
Muddy Murphy’s: The Irish sports bar is a well-known spot along Orchard Road for live sports games.
Mischief: Great views of the Marina Bay waterside from this pub at Esplanade Mall.
Dallas Cafe & Bar: Head down to Dallas' Boat Quay or Marina Bay Sands locations great food to go with the football thrills.
Plus: Great food, great booze, great atmosphere. If you're willing to splash the cash for a great time watching the World Cup games, you can't go wrong with these pubs and sports bars.
Minus: If you want to go cheap and casual, then this is not the best option. Also, some bars get filled up insanely quickly, so you will have to be there early for the best seats.
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