How Great Sports Bars Host The Euros
Euro 2016 promises to be a month-long carnival of football. See how some of the best sport bars will make the most of the Euros as they welcome more sport fanatics through their doors.
Euro 2016 promises to be a month-long carnival of football. With an extra eight nations involved (24 teams involved compared to 16 in 2012), this means additional matches for all football supporters. Plus fans will be following England, Wales, Northern Ireland and our neighbours in Republic of Ireland.
Which of course means more opportunities for pubs, bars and venues across the United Kingdom to welcome more sport fanatics through their doors.
Of course there is no one-size-fits-all method of screening the tournament. What works for one traditional pub won’t work for the stylish bar down the road – there is overlap of course (getting the sport right being a top priority) – and there’s opportunity within that diversity.
With that in mind, we’ve spoken to a number of the best bars and pubs (and Fanparks) across the UK to find out how they intend to show the forthcoming 51 games.
Vive la différence as they might say in the host nation!
2-3 St Mary’s Street, Swansea SA1 3LH
Since opening at the end of last year, gin palace Hogarths (so named after the artist’s iconic Gin Lane) has become the go-to venue for sport in Swansea. No wonder — it’s massive. With 20 screens — Twenty! — to catch all the Gareth Bale-inspired action there’s little chance of not getting caught up in the red hot atmosphere. The Six Nations at the start of the year gave Hogarths a glimpse of what to expect. Tables have been booked for months for the Wales games.
Specials for Euro 2016: It will host BBQs on selected games, and, fortuitously, World Gin Day coincides with Wales’ opening fixture, when it will run a number of promotions. Its outside bar (there are screens outside too) is housed in a converted Citroen bread van and has a selection of drinks specials too. Otherwise just have fun sampling its full range of 178 gins.
What they say: “If the Six Nations is anything to go by Euro 2016 is going to be electric. We’re expecting a sea of red to descend on us this weekend, with plenty of dragons and daffodils too. The tournament gives us a real opportunity to show the bar off and hopefully attract some new customers too.”
“The tournament gives us a real opportunity to show the bar off and hopefully attract some new customers too.”
204 Blackstock Road, London N5 1EN
One of the most historic — if not the most historic — of all pubs connected with Arsenal. However, for Euro 2016 The Gunners has found itself adopted as an unlikely Hungarian enclave after screening Hungary’s successful playoff win against Norway at the back end of last year. So while England games will pique interest in north London, it’s Hungary’s Group F matches that The Gunners is really looking forward to. They also have large outdoor screen that can be enjoyed when the weather permits.
Specials for Euro 2016: A drinks promotion with Carlsberg will see customers that sign up for a special app receive a one-off free pint. In keeping with the Hungarian theme, the pub will be serving goulash on the days the Mighty Magyars are playing.
What they say: “We have a whale of a time with the Hungarian supporters, the atmosphere is amazing. We have nine screens, including two big drop down projectors. It’s a good opportunity to showcase the pub and we’re going to be doing some live music to tie in with the games too.”
“It’s a good opportunity to showcase the pub and we’re going to be doing some live music to tie in with the games too.”
67 Greenland Street, Liverpool L1 0BY
All modern cities should have a Camp & Furnace. A warehouse-sized venue that acts as a restaurant, bar, gig venue and, crucially hosts a Fanpark for all football tournaments. Inspired by the European town centre celebrations of major football tournaments the Fanpark is all about great food, great beer and a whooping big screen. This is how to stage a modern entertainment venue. Located in the city’s resurgent Baltic Triangle.
Specials for Euro 2016: For its opening party on 11 June (when Wales and England first play), C&F is joined by trendy football mag Mundial, menswear brand Scotts and trainer dudes Laces Out! All the big games will be see independent street food vendors offering the latest mouth-watering food trends.
What they say: “We’re expecting the big games to be busy, you’ll need to get down early to get a table as these will be first come first served and we’ll end up with standing room only. The Europa League final had over 2,000 people here, watching the game on big screens in both Camp and Furnace rooms. So these are popular but very inclusive events. It’s a big tournament for Liverpool, with Scouse allegiance traditionally split between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland… we’ve got four teams in the mix.”
“It’s a big tournament for Liverpool, with Scouse allegiance traditionally split between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland… we’ve got four teams in the mix.”
12-18 Bradbury Place, Belfast, BT7 1RS
A man (and woman) could live and die in Lavery’s. It has everything you need for enjoyment in the modern world – the necessities (food and drink) come as standard, but incorporating a nightclub, a pool room, two roof terraces and a comprehensive sporting offer this really is place to spend the next month if you’re not only a Northern Ireland fan, but a football nut in general.
Specials for Euro 2016: Meal deals, drinks, comedy nights (not just when James Milner is playing…), open mic gigs, plenty of football and the best atmosphere in Belfast. One can only imagine the scenes if Will Grigg nets for the Irish.
11-13 New Wakefield Street, M1 5NP
The second Black Dog Ballroom to open in Manchester, its NWS venue is modelled on a New York-style speakeasy. As such it’s popular with an energetic and up-for-it crowd. Its location – close to the city and the student village – also helps. A great spot to watch England and the other Home Nations then – either downstairs on its three screens or on the terrace with its massive screen.
Specials for Euro 2016: It will hand out free pizza at half-time and there are plenty of drinks promotions to get the atmosphere moving along nicely. Its Steak Crisp pizza, trialled at the FA Cup and Champions League finals, is set to be a winner, alongside its new menu, including the popular sharer platters. To launch its coverage the venue is hosting a Sticker Swap Party with a BBQ on its terrace. A similar event for the 2014 World Cup saw obtained TV coverage.
What they say: “The England games are pretty much pre-booked already. People can walk in, but all our reserved spaces are booked out. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the bar. We’re really looking forward to it.”
99 Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester M16 0SZ
Hotel Football’s position – next to Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium – its owners – Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs – and its name say it all, this is a stylish venue dedicated to the beautiful game. Its mantra is ‘Football’: Day & Night’. As sophisticated venues go for watching Euro 2016 (on one of its 13 large TV screens), this will take some beating. Their food is worth a visit alone. And if all gets a bit too much, book a room upstairs and sleep it off.
Specials for Euro 2016: The venue’s Café Football has undergone a rebrand for the tournament with the restaurant dressed in Euro-themed decoration. Its waiting staff will also sport rebranded Euro uniforms. As part of the rebrand, it has added some new Euros-themed dishes to its menu. The Zlatan Burger (perhaps a permanent fixture if the transfer rumours are to be believed!) and Schweins Tiger Hot Dog have been two popular additions.
What they say: “Watching England either at the World Cup or European Championships tends to bring everyone together, regardless of whether you follow football or not. It would be good to see people down at Cafe Football who haven’t been before to see that it’s a place for football fans and foodies alike.”
2-4 Timberhill, Norwich NR1 3LB
The Murderers, located right at the heart of Norwich’s idyllic city centre, is rightly famed for its award-winning sports coverage – indeed it won Best Sports Pub at the Great British Pub Awards last year. Honed over years of showing major sporting events, it gets everything right. There’s not a spot in the pub where you can’t see the action – even the toilets – and it runs a number of events for the big games, including a prize for the last goal scored (the first 90 customers through the door get a raffle ticket with a number from 1-90, thus denoting each minute in the game).
Specials for Euro 2016: It’s running drinks promotions from all the major countries – Becks for when Germany play, San Miguel for Spain etc – and is pushing quick snack-y food such as cheesy chips and bolognaise. It is also hooking up with the nearby Nando’s to allow customers to bring food it into the pub for the evening games when the Murderers’ kitchen is closed.
What they say: “We love these big tournaments – especially if England progress and everyone gets caught up in the excitement. We like to blast out Three Lions and Vindaloo just before kick-off to get the atmosphere going. The last goalscorer raffle works really well as it encourages people to stay to the end. We also have screens in the urinals so customers aren’t all queuing to go to the toilet at half-time – thus missing out on ordering drinks.”
“The last goalscorer raffle works really well as it encourages people to stay to the end.”
21-22 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA
As part of the renowned Irish Porterhouse chain the Covent Garden branch will doubtless be one of the venues in which to catch the Republic of Ireland’s Group E games. But it’s more than that. Situated in central London the pub displays no allegiance to any one team, welcoming all in a friendly manner. This is considered one of the best Irish bars in London.
Specials for Euro 2016: The pub has been decked out in bunting representing the flags of all the 24 competing nations. Think of it as a pub version of those United Colours of Benetton ads. Live music will follow some of the 8pm to keep the party going.
What they say: “We’re always busy for the big football games – all major sporting events in fact – and we’re not expecting Euro 2016 to be any different, particularly because as well as England and the Republic of Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland have qualified too. But we get lots of French, Spanish and Italian fans in. It’s a great atmosphere.”
127 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JE
Bar Kick, the younger brother of Café Kick, feels like the stylish bars you find on the Continent. Which makes it the perfect partner for Euro 2016 as it adopts the best attributes of those bars and gives it a typically Shoreditch spin. Its screens are placed in one area, giving the bar a real terrace feel as the fans all face the same direction. It certainly makes for a cracking atmosphere.
Specials for Euro 2016: Dishes from the participating nations always prove popular during the Euros and World Cups. The 4-7pm Happy Hour will accompany many games – again helping to get the party started.
What they say: “England games are always busy, but, likewise, we’re packed for the Spanish, Italian, German and French games. We like to play the songs from each country before the games. We’ll be packed. So much so that the two bars either side of us do well because of the supporters that can’t get in here! We try to create a friendly, inclusive atmosphere and we’re really looking forward to welcoming fans in from those countries that don’t always qualify like Northern Ireland and Russia. We’re certainly seeing it as an opportunity to reach out to those supporters.