Rejoice, football fans. The seemingly never-ending 88-day summer break – hardly helped by a dour Euros result – is over and now there’s finally something to make small talk about in the office again. But if you haven’t scored any match tickets, why not soak up the rays, cheers and craft ales at these rowdy pub gardens near London's Premier League clubs instead?
For Arsenal fans
The Gunners is hardly going to win any prizes for an imaginative pub name but with enough memorabilia to fill a ten-year-old’s bedroom, it's a pilgrimage that any Arsenal fan should make at least once. You’ll have to get down early if you’re after a seat on match days as it fills up quickly (and there might be enough space to play table tennis). However, it's often better to stand up to soak up the atmosphere, particularly if crowd favourites The Away Boyz are in town. Their material tends to get better a few pints in so thankfully The Gunners has Doom Bar on tap and a beer garden where you can bask in the north London sunshine. 204 Blackstock Road, Highbury, N5 1EN.
Adjacent to Finsbury Park tube station, the new-look Twelve Pins is an ideal stop-over for those fancying a sing-song in a rowdy environment, probably generating as much noise as the entire Emirates Stadium. Tenner entry gets you two drinks, including a Guinness and there’s even a new gin menu for those into spirits. All major sporting events are shown here on two massive screens, as well as in the garden. As kick-off approaches, it swiftly packs out, meaning that it’s virtually impossible not to make a new best mate (provided that you’re not wearing a Spurs shirt). 263 Seven Sisters Road, N4 2DE.
For Tottenham fans
The Bricklayers Arms
On the other end of the Seven Sisters Road is The Bricklayers, a Tottenham institution. Draped in Spurs memorabilia and frequented by a family of regulars, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming boozer in the vicinity. Bring your own food or simply get it delivered from a wide range of local options. You can’t really go wrong with Chick-King, surely the best chicken shop in Haringey. If you want to whack on a matchday playlist, feel free to use the jukebox, but your song will probably be drowned out by the chanting. 803 High Road, N17 8ER.
With 27 pubs closing down every week in the UK, it's refreshing to see that the Annie has defied the odds, having been saved by residents, local breweries and Tottenham Hotspur, as it seemed destined to be turned into flats. The pub continues to go from strength to strength, serving fine ales from local craft brewers Redemption and Beavertown, including the Redemption Hopspur. Soak these fine beers up with the succulent match day wraps and you’ll be ready to make the 200-metre amble to the Lane. 168-170 Church Road, Tottenham, N17 8AS.
For Chelsea fans
The Fox & Pheasant
Setting foot in The Fox & Pheasant for the first time is akin to travelling back in time (pre-2003) to a quaint rural setting, with the designated lobby, public bar and saloon bar sections. Equipped with a dartboard and fireplace, it’s cosy even on the quieter nights. It gets impossibly cosy when Chelsea are in town, particularly in the atmospheric garden. With the previous fan favourite So Bar becoming a tiki bar, The Fox & Pheasant represents the next best option, particularly with the Indian food deliveries, Greene King Abbot and IPA on tap and Daniel Radcliffe making the occasional appearance. Who knows, he might even communicate with Sirius Black through the fireplace. 1 Billing Road, SW10 9UJ.
Some might call it a slight detour (a 13-minute walk to the ground according to Google Maps), but it’s worth it. While lacking the intimacy of The Fox & Pheasant, The Finborough Arms is one of the best pubs for beer in west London, which is no mean feat, boasting an exhaustively global draught beer and bottled beer menu. This is, in part, aided by the wood-fired pizzas and the strong selection of snacks, including hot pork sandwiches. 118 Finborough Road, SW10 9ED.
For West Ham fans
The Boleyn Tavern
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year, you are probably aware that West Ham have moved into the stadium at Olympic Park. With the Boleyn Ground consigned to becoming a relic of the past, is the future of Upton Park pub The Boleyn and other East End footballing mainstays (the ever-present Ken’s Café springs to mind) in jeopardy? With a shuttle bus to the Olympic Park offered to members for an eye-watering price of £120 a year (more than an U16 season ticket), The Boleyn is desperately trying to retain some of its passionate clientele, and with a relative paucity of football boozers in Stratford, who knows? All that’s certain is that the Boleyn is a pub of superlatives: longest horse-shoe bar, stickiest carpet and quite possibly the loudest rendition of Bubbles without a bubble machine present. 1 Barking Road, E6 1PW.
Slightly closer to the new ground, albeit still a brisk journey away, The Black Lion is one of the oldest landmarks in Plaistow, narrowly edging the Travis Perkins and Ladbrokes down the road. This was the post-match drinking hole of choice for some notable Claret and Blue icons over the years, with Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, ‘Arry and even Ray Winstone all known to have sunk some of the Camra-approved ales. Food is top-notch and you’re guaranteed good value, unlike the pubs on the other side of the District line. Out back is the West Ham Boys Boxing Club so away fans are advised to be on their best behaviour. 59-61 High Sreet, E13 0AD.
For Crystal Palace fans
Admittedly slightly out of the way (with the much-maligned CR postcode, yet only a ten-minute walk from Thornton Heath station), The Pawsons Arms welcomes home and away fans alike with cask ales, big-screen TVs and two dartboards. Staff serve the large hordes efficiently, ensuring you’ll never have to wait too long. Stick some Dave Clark Five on the jukebox and you’ll have the whole pub feeling 'Glad All Over'. Who needs a set of cheerleaders and an eagle to get pumped up for the football anyway? 69 Pawsons Road, Croydon CR0 2QA.
Ideally found opposite Norwood Junction station, the billboard outside The Cherry Tree states that it’s a home pub only, yet the bouncers are pretty lax. The pre- and post-match atmosphere is boisterous on match days despite karaoke no longer being a feature, as the Premier League’s loudest home support wet their whistles with London Pride and an eyebrow-raising variety of Polish bottled beers, courtesy of the Polish management. With previous fan favourites like The Portmanor closing down, The Cherry Tree is gaining popularity. 32 Station Road, SE25 5AG.
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