Best Pubs & Bars To Watch The World Cup
Published 10 June 2010
Let the show begin, as the 19th World Cup, the first one hosted in an African country, is about to take off. Thirty-two national teams will compete for the ultimate trophy of the king of sports. The almighty Brazil, Diego Maradona’s and Lionel Messi’s Argentina, an ambitious Spain, and current world champions Italy are some of the favourites for holding the Cup come the 11th of July.
In addition, England has never seemed more determined or eager to win its second World Cup, as the national team is full of talent and poise. Even Rio Ferdinand’s bad luck injury might prove one reason more for his teammates to bring the Cup home from South Africa. Just cross your fingers and hope history does not repeat itself if there are any penalties…
However, if you’re not England mad or are one of the large number of expats in London rooting for your home nation, going down to the local pub might not be such a good idea especially if your team is playing against England! Where do you go to watch the World Cup in London?
Here are some of the best places in London to watch the World Cup matches live, and where you are likely to run into fellow fans and avoid the England-crazy fans:
> The ULU Union Bar
The current students and alumni of the University of London already know that ULU is the place to be if cheap drinks and a friendly environment is your cup of tea. Especially for this World Cup, the two bars on the 1st floor of the Union will open their doors for non-students who want to watch their national team play in the World Cup. The Union is only five minutes away from Russell Square and is equipped with no less than 4 huge TV screens.
University of London Union, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HY, 0207 664 2084.
> Bavarian Beerhouse
The renowned Bavarian Beerhouse at Old Street is the ideal place to watch the Nationalmanschaft. The beerhouse doesn’t only have some big TV screens to offer, but also some delicious Bratwursts and Lagers, as well as cute waitresses clad in traditional apparel. There is also a special World Cup offer for corporate packages in order to watch the World Cup in a pub boasting to be the official home of the “German National Team in UK”.
Original branch: Bavarian Beerhouse, 190 City Road, London Shoreditch, EC1V 2QH, 0844 330 2005
Newly opened branch: The Arches, 9 Crutched Friars, London EC3N 2AU
> Le Bouchon Bordelais
Perhaps not the ideal place for Irishmen who saw their team getting eliminated by France; this bar-restaurant in Battersea is proud to have been declared the standard hot-spot to watch French fixtures. So if you are a fan of the French cuisine or at least of the national team, Les Bleues, this should probably be your second home for the next month.
Le Bouchon Bordelais, 5-9 Battersea Rise, Battersea, London, SW11 1HG, 0207 738 0307
> El Camino
Particularly recommended for the fans of Furias Rojas, but also for those enjoying Spanish beer and tasty tapas, El Camino is only a stone’s throw from King’s Cross Station. While El Camino is actually Mexican, it draws a big Spanish crowd along with the Mexican crowd. This idiosyncratic bar-restaurant is proud to present a special World Cup theme for the forthcoming month, along with a cosy environment and several large TV screens to watch the World Cup games. You can also book a table here, but if you are not Spanish just make sure first that the match you are interested in will be televised. Besides, the party might last a little bit longer here, as Torres and his friends have a fair chance to bring the Cup to Madrid.
El Camino, 3 Varnisher’s Yard, Regent Quarter, King’s Cross, London, N1 9FD, 0207 841 7330
> Bar Italia
If you are looking for a little Italy in London, where Italian and not English is the main language spoken, this is the place to be. A classic for the supporters of the squadra azzura who want to watch their team on the huge LCD TV with fellow Italians, this café-bar in Soho also serves some of the best Italian recipes in town, including a memorable Tiramisu.
Bar Italia, 22 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 4RP, 0207 437 4520
> Byzantium Café
Are you Greek, desperately craving to watch with compatriots your national team taking its chances in the World Cup? Well, where else could you go, except to the Greek stronghold in Bayswater? Byzantium Café is a classic for the supporters of the Greek national team, lying next to the Greek-Orthodox church of Agia Sofia. Surrounding cafes on Moscow Street could also be an alternative option. Of course, it might be difficult for the national team to repeat the miracle of 2004, when Greece unexpectedly won the European Championship, but you never know with these guys…
Byzantium Café, 31 Moscow Road, Bayswater, London, W2 4AH, 0207 229 9367
> Barracuda Sports Bar
A tint of South Africa here, necessary for the occasion, as South Africa is the host county of this World Cup. Barracuda is a purely sports pub, which means that 12 plasma TVs will be enough for everybody. And if you are not a big fan of the game, you can always taste the unique assortment of South African bar snacks and drinks.
Barracuda Sports Bar, 135-137 Houndsditch, London, Aldgate, EC3A 7BX, 0207 623 7533
> Obalende Suya
This is a cosy Nigerian restaurant, reputed as a hang-out for the members of the Nigerian community in London. The menu includes some of the most delicious local recipes and drinks, such as yam and jollof rice. Besides, the Nigerian national team, once identified by no other than Pele as the African country with the best chances to win the Cup someday, is always an interesting sight to watch.
Obalende Suya, 43 Peckham High Street, Peckham, London, 0207 703 7033
> Made in Brazil
A small piece of Copacabana is hidden in Camden town, as this is practically a Brazilian beach bar without a beach. At least there are amazing caipirinhas and two huge TV screens, set to air the games for the fans of the flashy Cariocas. Talking about the World Cup, Brazil is the ultimate contender, having bagged the trophy five times in the past. And who can resist to a piece of freestyle football style, or jogo bonito as the Brazilians call it?
Made in Brazil, 12 Inverness Street, Camden Town, London, NW1 7HJ, 0207 4820 777
> El Paso
Mexican World Cup aficionados can chill out with a glass of salty tequila and enjoy the national team, or El Tri as it is also known, in this trendy Mexican bar in Hoxton. The bar is equipped with two projectors and a big Plasma screen. The Mexicans have never reached the semi-finals, but who can question the quality of players such as Carlos Vela and Rafael Marquez?
El Paso, 350-354 Old Street, Hoxton, London, EC1V 9NQ, 0207 739 4202
> The Sports Café
This is probably the most renowned place in London to watch any kind of sport. Not without a reason, as its countless TV screens guarantee a proper World Cup night. Only two minutes away from Piccadilly Square, the café has many devoted customers, so be prepared to be squeezed a bit if you haven’t booked a table.
The Sports Café, 80 Haymarket, Piccadilly, London, SW1Y 4TE, 0207 839 8300
Know a secret hangout in London for fans of one of the national teams? Think you found the bar or cafe that will be the unofficial hangout for the North Korean supporters? Know of a World Cup pub crawl map for London? Let us know by leaving a comment below!