by Paul Bacon
Rotherham, United Kingdom
October 3, 2006
Frank’s is one of Beijing’s top venues for watching sports, particularly in the summer months. It appears that whoever designed the interior was on a mission to fill every corner and to cover as much wall space as possible with TV screens. Of course venues for watching sports are not uncommon in Beijing. Both the Den and Club Football do excellent trade with live games flickering across their walls. Where Frank’s does seem to have the edge though, is when the weather is warm—a major issue in the middle of a Chinese summer. Outside, to the rear of the bar is a large deck where further screens are erected and a barbecue sizzles away.
My definitive memory of Frank’s comes from a bright Saturday afternoon in the late summer. Along with a couple of hundred Australians I squeezed in to watch the Australian football grand-finale. Just for the day Frank’s charged 140rmb for as much beer as you could drink with a free barbecue outside. Ordinarily drinks are still quite moderately priced at 25RMB per pint.
Australian football is a complex and often confusing game. I have to admit that, because of my ignorance of the rules and the limitless beer, I had little clue about the game except that West Coast Eagles won by 1 point—apparently. Thankfully, after another trip to the barbecue the English code of football was available and I seemed to find my bearings once more. The only drawback to an excellent evening was the slightly longer than regulation cab-ride home.
From journal Tender is the Beijing Night