Whether it's rugby or football, Wimbledon or the Ryder Cup, if you're a sports fan then a friendly pub with good TVs showing all the sports is an essential venue to have on your radar wherever you happen to be in London.
So that you never need worry about where to watch the sports, we've rounded up the best South Bank pubs and bars known for being lively places to watch the big match.
Following a hugely successful football World Cup fan park in 2022, the big screen in the beer garden at the Between the Bridges pop-up next to Jubilee Gardens has remained a permanent fixture. This year the screen was also used for Wimbledon screenings and the Women's FIFA World Cup and is back in action again in the autumn showing all the biggest matches from the 2023 Rugby World Cup live. Grab a bite from one of the street food vendors and find a place in the courtyard in front of the screen, or if the weather takes a turn there’s also space to sit inside and watch the action.
This stylish modern pub is an airy hangout that attracts the crows for its large craft beer selection, tasty gastropub grub and buzzing after-work atmosphere. There’s also a selection of TVs showing the biggest matches and on Tuesdays and Thursdays (which are in case you hadn’t noticed, the new Fridays!) in particular this pub looks set to be a lively spot to watch the action live.
Where better to find a spot to cheer on your team than at the biggest bar in the UK?! Opened in summer 2022, BrewDog Waterloo is massive. In addition to a whopping 17 TV screens, there are also many other attractions that include duckpin bowling lanes, a microbrewery, a secret cocktail bar (look for a phone box and place a call to find your way in) and the famous BrewDog slide.
For a classic pub experience right on the river, Doggett's Coat and Badge next to Blackfriars Bridge is the place. The name is a tribute to Thomas Doggett, the organiser of the London Bridge to Chelsea rowing race. First held in 1715, it is said to be the oldest continuous sporting event in the UK. A Nicholson's Pub, Doggett's has a fantastic range of cask ales on tap and a classic pub food menu.
Located on Stamford Street, a short walk from the Oxo Tower and Blackfriars Station, The Thirsty Bear is a friendly, high-tech sports pub with eight TVs and a large projector showing all the big sporting events. If you can't miss a minute of the game, the pub also has a handy ordering system with iPads installed on the tables so you can place an order from your seat.
Opened in 1947 in a railway arch opposite the entrance to Waterloo Station, the Hole in The Wall is a local institution. A firmly independent pub, they offer one of the most interesting selections of cask ales from across the UK with regularly changing guest ales. Combined with its old-fashioned decor that has barely changed since it opened, it all adds up to a quirky, cosy spot with a charming dive bar feel.
If you are a rugby fan you'll find good company here, as despite being firmly Not a Sports Pub, over the decades it has become a very popular pit stop for rugby fans hopping on trains to and from Twickenham. There are TVs in the back room where you can watch the big games, while the quaint front room (pictured above), retains its firmly old-school atmosphere.
Situated just behind Gabriel's Wharf and a stone's throw from the river, this colourful local pub is known for its proper British roast lunches served on Sundays with the fluffiest yorkies, crispy roasties and of course lashings of proper gravy. The Mulberry Bush is a Young's pub and behind the bar is a choice selection of Young’s cask and local ales. This is also a dog friendly pub, so bring your pooch along with you to watch the big match.
Enjoy the relaxed vibe and frank and friendly service of this all-American Philly dive bar, located inside one of the arches in the Leake Street graffiti tunnel. A popular venue for American expats, and fans of American sports from elsewhere in the world, to come together and guzzle down some all-American beers and wings while watching all the biggest sports live from the US – especially NFL, college football, basketball and baseball. And yes, that means they open late for those red eye matches too!
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