Finding a decent pub to watch a rugby match from can be trying. There are any number of bad pints and unseeable TV screens in London.
But there's no better way to enjoy the Six Nations, which kicks off this weekend, than by finding a new favourite boozer. Current champions Ireland begin their campaign away against France, England play Italy, while Scotland and Wales compete at the Millennium Stadium.
Just a note that while we’ve listed the best pubs to watch Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, those following the French or the Italian squads might struggle.
French fans: for the match against England, head to Le Crunch, an event organised by London French at The Venue in Fitzrovia. Tickets are £10 and there are big screens, music, and plenty of food and drink.
London Italians? It might be worth contacting London Italian Rugby Club, founded in 2007 and which is growing every year. Otherwise, head to Bar Italia in Soho, once the mothership, now as good a bet as any.
Anyway, here are some of the best rugby pubs in London.
The Cabbage Patch
Best for England fans
You're as close as possible to the match without actually being in the stadium at the Cabbage Patch, which calls itself "the most famous rugby pub in the world." It offers traditional food, but rugby fans flock in their droves and the atmosphere is hard to top and you'll find plenty of high spirits and match chats.
67 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 3SZ, cabbagepatch.co.uk
Best for Ireland fans
This Irish bar from duo Aaron Wall and Ciarán Smith has some of the best Guinness in the city, and an exceptional cocktail menu to boot. As you’d expect, it’s popular with Irish fans on match days and the atmosphere is always a friendly one. As well as good beer and great chat, the food is top dollar, too.
108 Essex Road, Islington, N1 8LX / Unit Six Embassy Gardens, New Union Square, SW11 7DN, homeboybar.com
The Faltering Fullback
Also great for Ireland fans (but all comers, really)
No prizes for guessing where this pub’s allegiance lies: the décor says Irish. The Fullback has plenty of decent ales on tap, a surprising amount of space given how cosy it all feels, and a menu offering up Thai food for those who fancy it. And, with the likes of guitars, scarves, accordions and aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling, you can always play I spy if the match is proving to be especially uneventful. You can’t book tables here, so get down early.
19 Perth Road, N4 3HB, falteringfullback.com
Famous Three Kings
Best for Wales fans
Better looking than the usual sports bars, the Famous Three Kings boasts 16 screens and, though they're known for favouring the Welsh, they'll be screening every match of the tournament. There are decent pizzas and solid pub grub, and this is one of the places you’ll definitely want to book ahead for. Expect singing.
171 North End Road, Fulham, W14 9NL, f3k-london.co.uk
The Orange Tree
Best for Scotland fans
Scottish pubs are few and far between in the capital, so your best bet is to find an area where you're likely to bump into like-minded fans. The Orange Tree has two drop down screens inside, and a 65" screen for those who fancy braving the outside patio terrace. They're big on food here, too, so make a day of it and eat. If you haven't been, be sure to see what's on at the Orange Tree Theatre next door, too.
45 Kew Road, TW9 2NQ, orangetreerichmond.co.uk
Lovely old Fulham pub the Prince, which features its own indoor garden, is welcoming fans to catch the every game this year. It’s one of the more idyllic spots to watch the action and the food is always sound – the pub has hosted residencies from the likes of Homeslice and Patty & Bun in the past.
14 Lillie Road, SW6 1TT, theprincelondon.com
One of the better boozers around leafy Herne Hill and Brockwell Park, the Florence is a large, but really rather splendid pub. It'll mainly be screening the England matches, with England Wales kicking things off on the 10th, but doubtless more will follow.
131 Dulwich Road, SE24 0NG, florencehernehill.com
The Hemingford Arms
Do not be deceived by its mammoth ivory exterior, this watering hole takes its rugby as seriously as its style. The Islington pub will be showing every single match on its big screen and offers the near-obligatory Thai curry that so often comes with a rugby day out.
158 Hemingford Road, N1 1DF, hemingfordarms.com
Head to the heart of the City, where Indian restaurant and sports bar Brigadiers will be showing every game. It’ll be running a special Six Nations menu while the tournament’s in action, mixing fiery Indian flavours with British classics, while each of the three private dining rooms (equipped with their own TVs) are available to rent on matchdays.
1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR, brigadierslondon.com
The Ship, Wandsworth
Perched on the Thames, this rugby favourite draws in big crowds on game day. Luckily for those wanting a breather from all the excitement, the Ship has an outdoor area with some more tranquil riverside views.
41 Jews Row, SW18 1TB, theship.co.uk
Victoria sports bar Greenwood is going all out for the Six Nations this year. As well as showing the action on their big communal screens, the bar is also offering VIP areas for groups, with comfy seats, table service all night, food and, of course, plenty of booze.
Greenwood, 170 Victoria Street, SW1E 5LB, greenwoodlondon.com
The Bedford pub is another lovely spot to swing by. All the matches will be show on the Balham venue’s 12ft projector screens. If you're in a group, there are private rooms for hire too. Decent burgers.
77 Bedford Hill, London, SW12 9HD, thebedford.com
Flat Iron Square
Flat Iron Square is always a popular open-air choice for rugby fans and will screening all the matches again this year. There are three big screens, and loads of smaller ones dotted around in case your view is blocked. With various food options, free-flowing booze and pre- and post-match DJs, it’s always a fun one. Booking essential.
64 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU, flatironsquare.co.uk
Named after the bloody battle which kicked off the Crimean War, few places display the hostile rivalries of the Six Nations better than The Alma. This Young’s pub is home to one of the best matchday atmospheres west London pubs have to offer.
499 Old York Road, W18 1TF, almawandsworth.com
For Irish fans and everyone
Gibney’s, the basement saloon bar just off the Old Street roundabout, will be screening all the games throughout the tournament. Enjoy a pint or two of the in-house stout (or a certain name-brand competitor, of course) as well as top bar snacks from Richard Corrigan’s restaurant, Daffodil Mulligan, upstairs.
70-74 City Road, EC1Y 2BL, gibneyslondon.com
Skylight Tobacco Dock
We hope your eyes will be glued to the screen during the matches, but if the action does wane slightly, then it helps to have panoramic city views to keep you entertained. That’s the case at Skylight’s Tobacco Dock venue, which will be showing the matches on its seven screens, with happy hours and beer jug specials keeping things lively. Ticketed.
Tobacco Dock, E1W 2SF, skylightbars.com
The Corner Pin
This Tottenham boozer, which is under the stewardship of Beavertown and as such serves all their locally brewed pints, is showing the matches on its three screens, and serving modern pub grub to go along with it: fish and chips, vegan burgers, cauliflower and truffle mac and cheese and the like. It’s opposite the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium if you want a double-header day of sport.
732 High Road, N17 0AG, beavertownbrewery.co.uk
London Bridge venue Vinegar Yard has dedicated itself to showing the Six Nations for the duration of the tournament, offering free entry to watch on the big screen with the option of paying £11.50 to secure a seat and that first pint. Be sure to grab an England pizza (that’s a normal pizza with a big red St James’s cross made of tomato sauce) each time Steve Borthwick's boys are playing.
78-82 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QX, vinegaryard.london
The popular pizza chain Homeslice will screen the matches at all three of their restaurants, which sit in Neal’s Yard, the City, and Marylebone. The group has specially put up screens for the occasion and diners can tuck into 20 inch pizzas while they’re at it.
Various locations, homeslicepizza.co.uk
It’s all going on at this Marylebone pub, which has teamed up with Red Bull to transform itself into a rugby extravaganza. The pub’s entrance has been styled to resemble a pitch-side tunnel, and the tournament programme promises live music and celebrity guests to keep punters entertained between matches. Plenty of newly installed big screens will make sure you take in all of the matches, too.
43-47 Marylebone Road, NW1 5JY, greeneking-pubs.co.uk
Various locations, brewdog.com