I DON’T CARE much for American football, but I do love the Super Bowl. Ten years ago, I approached my only friend who had been in a fraternity (and totally generalizing here), asked him what this whole “Superbowl” thing was about. He brought me to a local sports bar for the full effect, where we screamed at TV screens, scored some Mardi Gras beads, and got really drunk. And I’ve been hooked ever since.
It’s not just the frenzy of food that I rarely put in my body (Cold cuts! Cheese fries! Iceberg lettuce!), but also the blood-sweat-and-tears narrative that culminates in the multimedia vortex of the NFL season’s final game.
I’ve always caught the game in New York City, but found myself in Park City, Utah last year, chowing down on an Italian sausage sandwich and cheering with fellow snowboarders and skiers — and it made me feel close to home. So, for you U.S. expats and travelers, both fair-weather football watchers and fanatics alike, here are places where you can also share in the experience, and perhaps consume less artery-clogging food, if you so choose — I wouldn’t.
Airtime: Monday, February 6 at 7:00 PM.
The Texas style-BBQ joint Bubba’s in Shanghai is just that, plus it’s where the particularly large ex-pat community in the city will likely convene for an authentic experience. And when I say, “authentic,” I mean American. Admission is free, they have three locations throughout Shanghai (The Beach, Hongqiao, Expo Village) and the menu will include smoked meats for breakfast… including chili cheese fries! Last year, they offered 20RMB wristbands that got patrons a free beer every time a team scored, which may also be the case this year, although details are not on the website.
Chang Mai, Thailand
Airtime: Monday, February 6 at 6:00 AM.
The Chang Mai Saloon, another Texas-style BBQ joint, suggests partying all night to make it to the big game’s kickoff. For about 200 Baht patrons get an All-You-Can-Eat breakfast buffet (score), so come for the football, stay for the burgers and wings, or pad thai, which is probably what I would do.
Airtime: Sunday, February 6, Midnight
With live music starting at 9 PM, the Super Bowl party at Wos Bar will supposedly be “massive.” No word on drink or food specials, but who cares at that point? You’d be better off with an espresso considering kick-off is so late.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Airtime: Sunday, February 5, 8:00 PM.
Sugar Bar in Palermo, a US and British ex-pat owned cave / bar, will be the spot for Super Bowl rowdiness, particularly because the party will start later in the evening, and because the owners specifically opened the place to be a “party bar.” For $40 USD, you’ll get 2 drinks or “1 national drink.” I don’t know what that is, but who cares? There’s Buy One-Get One Free special of nachos, fries, onion rings or chili! Or, since you’re in Argentina, better to spring for the burger special.
Airtime: Monday, February 6, 12:25 AM.
Fear not, all you American kids studying abroad: Sevilla’s oldest Irish pub Flaherty’s has you covered. Except, you might be too drunk by that point, since airtime’s around midnight. So you might have to skip your Monday morning classes, and no word on whether there’s a special Super Bowl menu, but it’s free, and there will be nachos (and tapas).
Airtime: Sunday, February 5, 10:00 PM.
There will be many places in the UK airing the game, but Roadhouse has this: free admission before 10 PM (and 10 pounds after) plus four giant screens and nine plasmas. Admission is free, and there will also be “delicious” food. Ehrm. Go for the TVs. (For those looking for more Americana, less rowdiness, Bodean’s BBQ has what you need. The 25 pound entry will get you lots of pulled pork, but as of the time of this article, the event is sold out.)
Airtime: Sunday, February 5, 8:30 PM.
The gringo spot California Cantina in the city’s Stgo section knows what its role is: to provide a space where people can scream and consume beer, wings and pizza. That’s it. For a general admission price of 3,000 CLP and one Corona, fans will get a spot, but they also suggest purchasing a “primo” spot in advance.
Airtime: Sunday, February 5, 7:30 PM.
If you’re in Aruba in February, I’m jealous. Especially of the fact that you’ll be able to catch the game on MooMba Beach on two 10-foot screens for only $15 per person (or $65 for VIP seats), which includes a buffet with typical football fare plus fish tacos.
Belize City, Belize
Airtime: Sunday, February 5, 5:00 PM.
Average Joe’s in San Pedro sounds like the exact place in Belize City that I’d want to find myself. With wings going for 75 cents a pop, a “100% All-American chili cheese dog” and $20 pitchers of beer, it all sounds about right, but may not feel that way the next day.
Airtime: Sunday, February 5, 5:00 PM.
As if the level of consumerism surrounding the Super Bowl couldn’t get higher, someone had to raise the bar. A Caribbean cruise devoted solely to watching the the game? Even I have standards. But if you have some cash to kill or no qualms about your carbon footprint, it may not be too late to get on a cruise like Royal Caribbean’s Super Bowl 2012 journey. For $510 for an inside cabin, you’ll get to spend five days on a ship, catching the game somewhere between Florida and Belize.