Best bars to watch the game

Here's our list of London's best pubs and bars in which to watch the footie...

Football and beer.

It's one of those indelible marriages. In fact, more indelible than most marriages.

So if you can't make it to the match but still crave some atmosphere there's really nowhere better than with your mates down the rub-a-dub.

In fact, in many ways, it may well be the best option.

Better than at the match:
- There's no drinking out of plastic glasses
- There's no standing around at 2 degrees when it's pee-ing down in January
- You get a better view than just the back of the keeper's head

Better than at home:
- You can shout what you really think of the ref - when your youngest isn't doing his colouring-in on the sofa next to you
- Zero chance of the other half coming in and insisting you finish the washing up

It's all good.

Jetlag Bar
125 Cleveland Street W1T 6QB

Nearest Station: Great Portland Street (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Slap-bang in the middle of Fitzrovia, Jetlag Sports Bar is the place to go for the attraction of multiple big screens. Themed bars all too often fall on the wrong side of naff, but Jetlag gets it right with its airline seats and international inspired street food, which make a change to the usual burgers and wings. Good beers and cocktails plus both upstairs and downstairs sports screenings make it the kind of sports bar you don’t need to be ashamed about paying a visit to.

    The Water Poet Pub and Dining Room
    9 Folgate Street E1 6BX
    Region: Spitalfields
    Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: There’s so much going on at the Waterpoet that it’s easy to forget that one of the things it does best is football. Expect Tuesday and Wednesday nights to be busy with the Champions League and rest safe in the knowledge that if it all gets too crammed then retiring to the back yard is always an option – an option complete with screens, of course.

      Scolt Head
      107A Culford Road N1 4HT
      Region: Islington
      Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.3 miles)

      AIL Says: The Scolt Head is a lovely pub in the heart of De Beauvoir Town. To add to its fine Sunday lunch, good range of ales on draught and its rosy atmosphere, there is a spacious football room at the back. A projector screen plays to rows of battered leather sofas and more formal tables and chairs.

      • OUR REVIEW 8/10
      • USERS 7/10
      The Harcourt
      32 Harcourt Street W1H 4HX
      Region: Marylebone
      Nearest Station: Edgware Road (Circle/District/H&C) (0.2 miles)

      AIL Says: Tired of preening Premiership stars? Then why not go Swedish? The Harcourt Arms is a pub with a difference – a very Scandinavian difference. Most Swedish domestic football graces the big screens at the Marylebone pub and the change is refreshing. The standard of football might not be of Premiership quality but the atmosphere in the pub more than makes up for it. The Swedish know how to support their league, but if that’s all a little too Northern European for your tastes you’ll also find the Champions League and FA Cup.

        Rileys Sports Bar Haymarket
        80 Haymarket SW1Y 4TE
        Region: Haymarket
        Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)

        AIL Says: If size matters to you then you’ll love The Sports Café in the heart of Leicester Square. It shows all manner of sporting events - but primarily football – and covers two floors, with four bars, 92 HD screens and 8 projectors. If a guaranteed perfect view is top of your list then the Sports Cafe should be your venue of choice.

        • USERS 7/10
        The Freemasons Arms
        32 Downshire Hill NW3 1NT
        Region: Hampstead
        Nearest Station: Hampstead Heath (0.1 miles)

        AIL Says: Not only does the Freemasons Arms feature five screens showing all the biggest games but it is also the founding place of the Football Association. The FA might not be quite so powerful these days but for pure football history you can’t go wrong with the Freemasons Arms. Popular with tourists and locals, you’ll find a primarily Arsenal supporting fan base, although all flavours of team are obviously welcome.

          Cafe Kick
          43 Exmouth Market EC1R 4QL
          Region: Clerkenwell
          Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.4 miles)

          AIL Says: Café Kick is the choice of international football followers and offers a friendly mix of all nationalities. Partisan crowds are out and the FIFA football family fiesta is in full effect! Much smaller than its Shoreditch cousin, the Exmouth Market bar more than makes up for size with a great atmosphere for football and an awesome range of world beers to boot – get it? To boot!

          • OUR REVIEW 8/10
          • USERS 8/10
          The Albion
          94 Goldsmiths Row E2 8QY
          Region: Bethnal Green
          Nearest Station: Cambridge Heath (0.2 miles)

          AIL Says: If the thought of watching football in an east end local appeals, then try The Albion on Goldsmith Row. Decorated with a West Bromwich Albion badge on the exterior, the interior follows (football) suit with flags, scarves, trophies and pictures celebrating the famous and the infamous of the sport. If you can’t get to a match then this comes pretty close – bring your banter.

            The Famous Three Kings
            171 North End Road W14 9NL
            Region: West Kensington
            Nearest Station: West Kensington

            AIL Says: The Famous Three Kings on North End Road is a monster of a sports pub in West Kensington. Around fifteen screens, different rooms screening separate matches, a wide array of satellite channels and deals and offers on drinks and food. Needless to say it is not the kind of place to bring someone who doesn’t like football – for everyone else it’s the perfect sports bar.

            • USERS 7/10
            Bar Kick
            127 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JE
            Region: Spitalfields
            Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.1 miles)

            AIL Says: Bar Kick has been the choice of international football fans for years and that does not appear to be about to change anytime soon. A winning recipe of good food, world beer, foosball tables and a large number of screens is all it seems to take to inspire multicultural crowd.

            • OUR REVIEW 8/10
            • USERS 8/10

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