Do you still believe? Are we about to all start whispering about things coming home? Who knows. But we do know, at least, that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will kick off on Sunday November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium, when the hosts take on Ecuador in Group A.
The tournament was originally set to begin a day later, with Senegal’s game against the Netherlands at the Al Thumama Stadium, but Qatar’s match was moved forward in August to allow them to open their home tournament. England is now set to play on the second day, with their Group B match against Iran scheduled to take place just eight days after the Premier League shuts down on Monday November 21, with a 1pm UK time kick-off. After qualifying via the play-offs, Wales’ first game will also be held on Monday, November 21.
With the tournament set to start within days, London’s pubs and bars are unsurprisingly all ready to go for the big matches. Pints at the ready; these are the best screenings across the capital.
Boxpark has become a go-to for football fans looking for screenings that err on the side of lively — you’ve probably seen videos of their pint-flinging antics from previous tournaments — and each of its London locations will be showing all the matches. Expect plenty of boozy atmoshphere.
Wembley, Shoreditch and Croydon, boxpark.co.uk
Flat Iron Square
Last time around, in 2018, the popular site on Southwark Street drew thousands of football fans packing the outdoor spot in order to celebrate the highs and lows of the tournament. No surprise they’re back at it again, with each game broadcast across multiple screens.
Fortunately, a roof covering has also been installed for fans who want to watch the games outdoors, while the on-site taproom offering fans full protection from the elements. Elsewhere, there’s plenty of food dotted about, including Lebanese, focaccia-based pizza, and contemporary barbecue food. Drinks wise, expect cocktails, extensive spirit selections, and a broad range of soft drinks.
45 Southwark Street, SE1 9HP, flatironsquare.co.uk
With 12 screens strategically placed across two floors, this Shoreditch spot is always a top shout for live sport. The food and drink is exactly the kind of thing you want when watching football — burgers, fried chicken, craft beer, cocktails — and the foosball tables will keep everyone entertained in the lull between matches.
127 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE, barkicklondon.com
If you’re a fan of street food, then look no further than Market Halls - the ideal location to enjoy a range of international and delicious food vendors, alongside dedicated fan zones, and live screenings of this year’s World Cup 2022. With three venues across London, its mission is to curate good times with great flavours, joy and authenticity, and to engage with local communities and visitors in beautiful spaces. What’s not to like?
Market Halls Victoria - 191 Victoria Street, SW1E 5NE, Market Halls Oxford St - 9 Holles Street, W1G 0DB, Market Halls Canary Wharf - 25 North Collondale, E14 5HS https://markethalls.co.uk/
Big Penny Social
Once known as Truman’s Social Club, this Walthamstow spot (now heated for the winter) proudly declares itself as the UK’s biggest beer hall, and as such seems like a natural choice for watching the football. Besides its 98 beer taps spread across four bars — few will go dry here — on England match days, there’ll be a marching brass band, DJs and live music. They’re going all out to make it memorable, in other words.
1 Priestley Way, E17 6AL, bigpennysocial.co.uk
If there’s live sport to be shown, you can safely assume Greenwood has it covered. An ever reliable spot for those who don’t want to venture too far out of central, this Victoria bar is screening all the World Cup matches, with a crowd-pleasing menu of food and drink ready to be ordered and delivered to your table.
170 Victoria Street, SW1E 5LB, greenwoodlondon.com
Following an exciting run in the Euros, Vinegar Yard will welcome fans back. So too do the big screens return, but this time to the Yard’s winter terrace, which has been decked out with a canopy cover, as well as heaters. Stock up on drinks from the outdoor bar, and food from resident traders, which include the likes of Nanny Bill’s, Baba G’s and Nik’s Kitchen.
Vinegar Yard, 72-82 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU, vinegaryard.london
James Cochran, the kitchen maestro behind popular Islington restaurant 12:51, launched his new sports bar on Upper Street earlier this year, named for the blond-afroed Colombia captain Carlos Valderrama (read Jimi’s review here). Providing a permanent home for Cochran’s fried chicken operation, Around The Cluck, it’s taking bookings now for the matches.
Look out too for Baller FC, which have taken the lower level here. Run by a collective of event producers, DJs, musicians, members of the queer community and, of course, football fans, Baller FC has created an inclusive environment to catch all the action. Their website says it best: “It’s not always easy to watch the sport you want to see in a place you want to be. So we’re changing the game and you’re invited to join us.”
163 Upper Street, N1 1US, valderramas.co.uk
East London-locals looking for the ideal spot should head to canal-side venue Hackney Bridge — previously known as Clarnico Quay — which will be showing all the games on one of the biggest screens in London. All the England games are ticketed, but the venue will be showing all the other matches too, which are free to watch.
Units 1-28, Echo Building, E15 2SJ, hackneybridge.org
Inside the elegant Standard hotel is Double Standard, its Seventies inspired ground floor hang-out, which makes for an elegant spot to watch the footie. All of the action will be broadcast in HD, with upscale dive-bar food seved, as well as its traditional slushies and cocktails on tap.
10 Argyle Street The Standard, WC1H 8EG, standardhotels.com
Famous for its kebabs and mazeh, this Persian restaurant might seem an unlikely spot for watching a match, but upstairs it has a screen showing the matches, and it should be a quieter spot to enjoy the games in. The team have created an exclusive “Feast” menu for the tournament, which includes a host of sharing plates, and for those matches taking place in the morning, there will be the first-ever Berenjak brunch menus.
1 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL, berenjaklondon.com
The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea
Kicking off celebrations with the opening England game, this newly refurbished pub will be adding two screens to the main bar, and is taking bookings for groups between one and fifteen. Tickets to watch the big games will start at £50 per person, which includes a bar snack platter, a main dish and two pints.
Its sister pub, the George in Fitzrovia, is also screening the matches.
King’s Road, SW3 5UG, thecadoganarms.london
Levels five and six of this popular spot will be screening all the games, with room for 400 seated — although whether anyone will be able to stay in their seats during the games remains to be seen. Happy Hour will also be extended to run on game days, with £4 pints, and a £5 Duppy Punch on offer, and there’s food to soak it all up with too, from the likes of 081 Pizzeria, Green Choy, Plantain Kitchen and Boxwallah.
Peckham Levels, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST, peckhamlevels.org
Right from the off, Brigadiers will show the matches on its transformed outdoor terrace; besides the screens there are heaters and an outdoor bar, and there’s a festive menu on to boot, which includes the likes of a turkey tikka masala pot pie and achari beef shortrib.
67-69 George St, London W1U 8LT brigadierslondon.com/
London’s Record bars, which include Eastcheap Records, Old St Records, Venn St Records and Northcote Records, each boast large HD screens, plenty of beers and cocktails, and pizza as well.
Across London, oldstreetrecords.com/our-venues