Seeing that Britain is pretty much football obsessed, it’s safe to say that the whole of London will be holding it’s breath this Sunday, 13th July at 8pm for the grand Germany vs. Argentina finale. No doubt everyone, everywhere in the city will be watching the World Cup Final until the trophy is finally raised by a team that isn’t England (but who cares because it’s still super exciting!)
The World Cup, like the Olympics in 2012, is one of those rare moments where television doesn’t turn the population into zombies hunched around their screens at home, but actually makes people sociable – remember, this is London, so that’s quite a feat.
From pubs to parks to public squares, you’ll easily be able to find a spot alongside your fellow football fanatics to watch as the winning team score their victory. Even the posh places that usually consider themselves ‘too good for all that sports stuff’ will inevitably wheel out a dusty widescreen or antique projector.
Here are the best places to watch the 2014 World Cup Final in the great city of London.
Big screens: party in the park
**Update** Unfortunately it doesn’t look as if there’ll be any screenings in any of the big parks due to fears of noise and alcohol consumption. The London leaders don’t seem to be as willing to find ways around regulations as their German counterparts.
Of course, we do have Britain’s notoriously unpredictable weather to contend with, so maybe (just maybe) it’s for the best. Anyway, never fear, London pubs are always there to save the day.
Down the pub
You’ll be hard pressed to find a pub that isn’t playing the Final this Sunday, so it’s not really a case of finding one but rather finding the best one. To make your search easier, we’ve come up with a selection of London’s finest, according to area.
For the uninitiated, North London is the self-professed ‘arty’ and ‘cultured’ area of London. For that reason, its residents have a slight superiority complex over their fellow Londoners (though, generally every Londoner is fiercely protective of their respective area). Don’t let that put you off. It’s round here that you’ll find the coolest and the quirkiest of all London pubs.
One to check out is The Old Queens Head. They’ll be showing the game on both floors using two huge projectors, so there won’t be any danger of a restricted view. Once the football is done for the day, the party will continue late into the night with decent DJs and some of London’s best up-and-coming bands.
Also not to be missed in the north…
- Faltering Fullback, 19 Perth Rd, London, N4 3HB (greatest beer garden ever)
- World’s End, 21-23 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3EF
- Anam, 3 Chapel Market, Islington, London, N1 9EZ
Made up of a mixture of the moneyed young professionals and the newly graduated, South London is a hedonists’ paradise. It also has a sizable Aussie expat community for any travellers coming from Down Under.
Mainly known for comedy and its cheesy club nights (or perhaps the comedy of their cheesy club nights), the Clapham Grand plans to get well into the mix for the match this Sunday. They’ll be putting up a mammoth 40 metre screen and have shown all the England, Australian, New Zealand and South African games, along with all the knock-out stages, so a grand finale soiree is most definitely on the cards. They’ll open their doors at 7pm, but sadly you’ll have to buy a ticket here – totally worth it for a front row seat for the most exciting football match you’ll see until 2018…
Also seek out in the south…
- Alexandra, 14 Clapham Common South Side, Clapham, London, SW4 7AA
- Durell Arms, 704 Fulham Road, Fulham, London, SW6 5SB
- Kennington Tandoori, 313 Kennington Road, Kennington, London, SE11 4QE (curry, beer and football – perfect)
The East is best described as London’s hipster area. While it’s started to lose its cutting edge sheen since the city bankers started moving in, there’s still enough hip-gloss to make your World Cup Final experience memorable.
Your best bet is going to be The Big Chill Bar, a venue that oozes cool from each of its four walls. They’ll be installing a 55 inch plasma on their deck for punters partying outside on Dray Walk. If the British weather strikes, then they’ll be two 50 inch screens held in reserve inside too, reserve a table here so you’re guaranteed a spot.
If that wasn’t perfect enough, the Big Chill is also just off Brick Lane, a road world famous for its curry houses. The holy trinity united – beer, curry and football.
Also worth entertaining in the east…
- Albion, 94 Goldsmiths Row, Shoreditch, London, E2 8QY
- Bar Kick, 126-127 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JE
- Pride of Spitalfields, 3 Heneage Street, London, E1 5LJ
The West kind of has that reputation of being posh. Of Bentleys in the street, houses that haven’t been butchered into flats, a vast array of Waitrose. It’s basically the perfect place to go if you want to catch the games with a little refinement.
Worth a look in the west…
- Drayton Court, 2 The Avenue, West Ealing, London, W13 8PH
- Belushi’s, 28 Hammersmith Broadway, Hammersmith, W6 7AB
Central London is undoubtedly where the action is. It’s the beating heart of the city and it’s where most of the visitors – and a sizable chunk of the residents too – are going to gravitate toward for the excitement of the final.
If you want a venue that’s throwing a party suitably raucous for this mammoth event, then 1920 is the one for you. This sizable pool bar will be showing the game on a grand total of seven, six foot projection screens. The food isn’t too bad either, if you like your burgers.
The other essentials in central…
- Walkabout: Temple, Temple Station, Temple Place, London WC2R 2PH
- Jetlag Sports Bar, 125 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 6QB
- The Carlsberg Sports Bar, The Casino at the Empire, 5-6 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7NA
- The George, The Strand, London WC2R 1AP
Cinemas and theatres
Want a 3-dimension view of the World Cup Final without going to Rio? Well, thanks to some big cinema chains across London you’ll have the chance this Sunday, tickets will be selling like hotcakes today though, so you’d better skedaddle. Odeon in Covent Garden are hosting a FREE screening of the final, but you’ll have to run down to the box office to nab a ticket as they’re not being sold online. Vue Cinema in Westfield, Shepherds Bush is also hosting a screening, but you’ll have to enter here before 12pm on the 11th July (that’s tomorrow) for a chance to grab a seat.
Everyman cinemas will be setting up an outdoor screen at Battersea Power station (the closest Boris will allow to a big screen World Cup par-tay), all ticket info is here. The Whirled Cinema in Brixton will be hosting a little finale soiree this Sunday, buy your tickets here.
They call it a ‘gathering’
If you’re already a resident of the big bad city then no doubt you’re going to know someone who’s throwing a World Cup Final party. If you’re not, then you’re going to need to find yourself an invite.
OK, so London isn’t exactly considered the most talkative or friendly of cities most of the time, but that usually changes with a little beer.
Most people don’t have gardens in London, nor do the Londoners quite do BBQs like the Aussies. The meat will be either burnt black or practically raw and cooked on an awful disposable thing that looks like it’s made of tinfoil. However, there will be a lot of beer, lots of loud people and a big old party atmosphere.
Although there will be plenty of places playing the football, they are likely to fill up pretty quick. If you don’t fancy traipsing around the city with the crowds, then you can always stay in. To have that option as a traveller, make sure you pick a hostel that has ample means to show all the action.
The Generator is well known amongst travellers to be one of London’s ‘largest, liveliest and funkiest hostels’ – and the proof is in the bar. The hostel has its own lively watering hole where you can meet your fellow travellers, grab a few beers or a couple of cocktails and watch the games on one of their plasma TV screens. Afterwards, the party will continue late into the night with music and dancing.
Another London hostel well known for its beer serving facilities is The Walrus Waterloo. Below the main hostel you’ll find a trendy take on a classic London boozer, with atmosphere to match. It’s a perfect place to cheer on your boys.
At the St. Christopher’s Inn, they refuse to let their clientele go even a night without entertainment. So, it’s unlikely they’re going to let anyone down by skipping out on the grand finale of the World Cup. Expect them to show the game either at their own bar or its sister establishment, Belushi’s, down the road… or most likely, both.
If you coming to London specifically to watch the football and nothing else, then staying at the one part hostel, one part football pub, Arsenal Tavern Hostel, is the way for you. It’s a little rough round the edges, but you’ll be hard pressed to find to find a better atmosphere during the games than here, right in the heart of Arsenal FC country.
There are countless hostels around London and the vast majority have their own bars complete with widescreen TVs. Check out our listings and book yours today.
So there you have it, your guide to the World Cup Final in London. We might be cheering on different teams, but we all have something in common. We all want a decent party!
Want to learn a little more about the host nation? Check out Lonely Planet’s Celebrate Brazil Mini-Guide to find out what the amazing Brazil has to offer (besides just the football).
Know any other decent spots to watch the football in London? Let us know in the comments…