After a mad, harrowing year, it seems difficult to believe that Euro 2021 is mere weeks away – and that the biggest games will be taking place in London. For fans without tickets to the tournament, which runs from 11 June to 11 July, watching at the pub looks set to be a game of two halves, with the first batch of group stage matches taking place under social distancing, and the second half taking place after so-called “freedom day” on 21 June.
This means all of the knockout matches, which start on 26 June, will – as things stand – take place without Covid restrictions. To help you plan how to celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to watch the big games, with a focus on outdoor spaces and venues around the City.
Trafalgar Square Fan Zone
Before the pandemic, Trafalgar Square was one of those places most Londoners tended to avoid. But while the novelty of seeing other humans remains, it’s worth bearing in mind for Euro 2021. The location of the official Fan Zone, the area will be filled with fans from across the continent watching on the big screens and catered for by a bar tent. And there is something to be said for watching the Three Lions under the watchful gaze of Trafalgar Square’s massive lions.
4TheFans at Oval Space
Oval Space, the club and events venue on the canal at Bethnal Green, is better known for attracting world class DJs than it is sports fans. But as Euro 2021 starts it will be one of the hottest places in the capital to gather, with huge screens and a best-in-class sound system. Tickets must be bought in advance and include two drinks and a pie.
Flat Iron Square
The Borough venue will show every game in its spacious outdoor area, and fans will be catered to by the usual array of food and drinks vendors. It became known as the place to watch the football during the last World Cup and looks set to continue that legacy during this strange Euro 2021.
Vinegar Yard is one of those places that seems purpose built to show a major football tournament, with a massive outdoor space that will be kitted out with a huge screen courtesy of sportswear giant Adidas. Located beside London Bridge Station, it’s perfect for City commuters who have returned to work and fancy catching the football rather than heading home.
Truman’s Social Club
North London is the place to be right now and somehow Blackhorse Road is the white-hot epicentre of that (at least according to our Life&Style editor, who just happens to live there). Truman’s Social Club will be screening every game in the beer garden beside its brewery, a space that was designed from the outset to cater for socially distanced crowds. Expect good beer and big screens.
Another big outdoor space within walking distance of the City, Boxpark will no doubt be filled with its usual crowd of tourists, hipsters, bankers and hen parties, only this time they will all be cheering for whatever country they hail from. With loads of bars and some decent street food, this is a great shout for catching the big Euro 2021 games.
With its panoramic views across the London skyline and expansive terrace, Skylight Rooftop is perhaps the prettiest place to watch England crash out in a disappointing semi-final display against some unfancied side. With large LED screens on both the rooftop and inside, you’ll be able to console yourself with some excellent food and drinks.
Richard Corrigan’s Gibney’s London basement bar, located beneath his Daffodil Mulligan gastro pub, will screen all of the games, allowing more relaxed fans to enjoy the action from its snug booths, available for private hire and seating up to eight guests. There are loads of screens and you can order a keg of Heineken to pour your own booze to make sure you don’t miss any goals queuing at the bar.
This “Vegas style” cabaret experience close to the City may not be the first place you’d think of to watch the footy, but it will be showing every game and is taking bookings so organised fans aren’t disappointed. And if the game doesn’t go your way, you can play some pool or place some bets at the “fun casino”.
Perry Hill, Lewisham
Those south of the river should bear in mind Perry Hill, which will transform into a sports bar for one month only, installing two big screens in one of the biggest beer gardens in South East London. And while they can’t guarantee the quality of the football, at least chef Eric Grapt (The Wolseley and The Hurlingham Club) can be relied upon to serve up excellent British comfort food classics.
Stoke House, Victoria
Modern steakhouse by day, Stoke House will become a football haven during match-time, with screens both indoors and on the terrace. Carnivorous Lions can enjoy hotdogs and steak sandwiches as they cheer on the boys in white.