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House of Nations Celebrates the Games

Published 21 August 2012

As we look back on the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games and look forward to its lasting legacy, it’s important to also consider the fantastic events and venues that surrounded those heady weeks.

The Pavilion at the Tower of London is a pop-up venue that hosts various events and is situated right next to the stone tower itself, less than two minutes’ walk from the station, and is set to stay until 2017. In particular during the Olympics this summer, the Pavilion was host to the House of Nations which had venues both at the Tower of London and King’s Cross. It was impressive even at first glance. From the outside, across the grass, visitors were greeted with the sight of a grand marquee, in front of which were scattered a generous handful of armchairs and sofas.

The venue itself was split into two rooms. The front room had a warm honeyed colour theme to it and had a pair of modest screens broadcasting the games, with partitioned seating in front for visitors to lounge on. Both rooms had bars, and plenty of Tsingtao available, which was the beer of the event – I tried a bottle and actually enjoyed it despite not being much of a beer drinker myself. The main feature of the front room was, in the spirit of the Olympics and with some help from Tsingtao, a fully functional “Dragon Ping Pong” table, complete with robot that spat ping-pong balls at players brave enough to face it! Food was also available to order in the front room. The night I was there they were serving gourmet beef burgers, plates for a few to share, or absolutely gorgeous-looking pizzas.

The central point of the venue however was undoubtedly the second, larger room at the back – lit like a summer night with soft purple and blue hues and a star-studded ceiling, and central placards proudly displaying the House of Nations logo alongside two massive screens that were showing the games live. For those who hadn’t managed to get tickets to the Olympic events themselves, this was almost the next best thing. With a choice of either plush white leather sofas in front of the screens or bar-style seats and tables at the far end of the room to sit at, visitors could enjoy both the ambience and the Olympics. Of course, the atmosphere itself was a reflection of the spirit of the games, with the venue erupting into cheers several times the night I was there.

House of Nations was there to celebrate the Olympics and though both have come to a close, the Pavilion will be continuing to host events at the Tower of London. Even for those less interested in the Olympics themselves, the House of Nations provided a great venue in which to spend a classy evening, or for people interested in a bar scene with a bit of a difference. Considering the location and the atmosphere visitors were paying for, the pricing was fairly decent as well (£10 entry for the public; who would then get a voucher back to spend at the bar – for VIP tickets however, the price was much higher).

I think the Tower of London venue would most appeal to people who work or live in the city and are looking for somewhere to go with friends for a night out – but the venue is not a nightclub (that was taken care of at the King’s Cross venue), nor is it somewhere that’s trying to be discreet or “underground” – far from it! The Pavilion is the place to go for a bit of relaxation and a lot of glamour, and personally I’m interested in seeing what kind of evenings it will be presenting in the months to come.