If you’ve ever read through our city guides, you’ve come across some fairly extensive suggestions for nightlife venues—pubs, clubs, restaurants and music venues—in cities throughout the UK. The truth is, in many of these cities it’s hard to go wrong with the nightlife, because there are just so many good options. We’ve merely attempted to pick out some of the gems for you. However in London, it can be even more difficult to narrow down the hundreds of world-class options. So in this post, we’re going to focus on a certain type of venue that thrives in London: football pubs!
London has long been known for its top-notch football players, clubs, and perhaps most of all supporters. The city is currently enjoying as spirited a run of professional football as any city can claim in recent history. Reading over the latest odds on the Premier League at Betfair, one can find two London clubs (Chelsea and Arsenal) in the top-three betting favourites for the league, and another (Tottenham Hotspur) at sixth best. This strength among London clubs—coupled with the fact that there are three other (albeit weaker) London clubs competing in the Premier League this year—makes it the perfect time to get out and explore the sports side of London nightlife. Here’s a look at a few of the city’s best football pubs and sports bars.
The Gunners Pub
If you want to jump right into an intense football-supporter environment, the Gunners Pub on Blackstock Road functions as something of an unofficial home to Arsenal supporters. Naturally, the pub is decked out in red, white, and an endless array of club memorabilia. However, The Gunners Pub is more than your average supporter hideaway. It’s a spacious, festive bar that shows not only Arsenal matches but football matches from different leagues all over Europe. There’s a gaming room, an attached outdoor beer garden (heated in the winter), and a virtually guaranteed crowd of Arsenal supporters. The pub’s proximity to Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal plays, makes it a blast (though crowded) during home matches, but again, it’s also meant as a general football pub.
The Bell & Hare
For an experience that will feel a little more open and casual, the Bell & Hare—it’s on High Street less than half a mile from Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium—is a fine choice. In particular, it’s known for its expansive beer garden that, as Travel Channel notes, has three separate bars. The pub’s proximity to White Hart Lane certainly means that it will be flooded with Tottenham supporters on match days (and really any other time matches are on), but it feels less like a designated team pub. The nearby Bricklayers Arms is recommended by the same Travel Channel post as the true Tottenham bar for club supporters.
The Alexandra Pub
Moving away from club-specific pubs and those in proximity to famous London stadiums, The Alexandra is one of the coziest and most enjoyable sports pubs in town. Open in Clapham for over 150 years now, the pub has an old and rustic feel to it, and yet it’s frequently crowded with high-energy football supporters (as well as those looking for other sports on television). A respected beer selection, classic pub food, plenty of space and matches on television make it a wonderful experience for sports fans and pub lovers alike.
Finally, we’d recommend Elk Bar in Fulham for something a little less traditional. It’s not a club supporter bar, nor is it predominantly a venue for watching sports. Yet the Elk Bar offers tempting BBQ, an international craft beer selection, and a cocktail menu that borders on quirky. The bar also televises English football matches whenever they’re on and as Fluid London remarks, it caters to a largely international crowd including London’s football-loving Australians and South Africans. All in all, it’s a great place to experience a match on TV.