London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony: Where to watch in NYC

Get off the couch and attend a costume party or viewing soiree with our guide to where to watch the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in New York.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    The Big Screen Plaza at the Eventi Hotel, seen here hosting Hester Nights, will transform into New York’s ultimate Olympic extravaganza.

  • Photograph: James Higgins

    Head to Smithfield, pictured, to watch a live feed of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, beginning at 4pm, rather than waiting until NBC's tape-delayed coverage at 7:30pm like those working saps.

  • One Stop Beer Shop hosts a costume contest for its 2012 Olympics opening ceremony shindig.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    The scene at Standings during the Danny Boyle-directed 2012 Olympics opening ceremony when James Franco gets his arm trapped under the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe and has to saw it off with a penknife to free himself.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Woodwork offer $3 drink specials for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

  • Photograph: John Keenan

    The Churchill offers a chance to pregame the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony with a happy hour that runs from 4pm to 7pm.

Photograph: Filip Wolak

The Big Screen Plaza at the Eventi Hotel, seen here hosting Hester Nights, will transform into New York’s ultimate Olympic extravaganza.

The London games will begin in spectacular fashion with the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park on Friday, July 27, at 9pm GMT, or 4pm New York time. NBC will begin its network-TV tape-delayed coverage at 7:30pm. The ceremony is titled Isles of Wonder, with Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle providing the creative lead as artistic director, and promises the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe and some sheep. We jest; it’s sure to be an awe-inspiring show—but will it be able to match the jaw-dropping kickoff in Beijing? Gather some friends, pick from our recommendations for where to watch the spectacle and watch the events unfold at one of these viewing parties for the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

RECOMMENDED: London 2012 Olympic Games guide

Big Screen Plaza

Perhaps New York’s ultimate Olympic extravaganza will take place in the courtyard behind the Eventi hotel in midtown. As the opening ceremony is projected on a 30-by-16-foot HD LED screen, comedians will provide Best in Show–esque commentary on the proceedings. Before or after the procession of nations, busy yourself on the Astroturf-covered deck with a match of tug-of-war, arm wrestling, Ping-Pong, pool, badminton and other lawn games; run through a plethora of sprinklers to cool off; get a picture in the photo booth with Olympic-themed backgrounds handcrafted by Brooklyn artists; and munch on tasty treats from Hester Street Fair food vendors. The plaza plans to hold regular screenings throughout the duration of the Olympics; visit for details.

  1. 851 Sixth Ave, (at 30th St), 10001
More info


  • Free

This three-floor pub will screen the opening ceremony live on all of its 21 TVs starting at 4pm, rather than waiting until later in the evening when NBC’s tape-delayed coverage begins. It’s a perfect excuse to cut out of work early. As are the Anglophile-friendly drink specials that run for the duration of live TV coverage, including Newcastle Brown Ale ($5), a Pimm’s cup ($6), and a Hendrick’s gin and tonic with cucumber slice ($6). Drink up, and you may find yourself beginning to reevaluate your allegiances whenever the U.S. and the Brits go head-to-head.  (212-564-2172,

  1. 215 W 28th St (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)

One Stop Beer Shop

  • Price band: 1/4

Kick off the Olympics with pageantry of your own. This beer-store-and-bar hybrid, which specializes in novel beer cocktails ($9, July 27 until 8pm $6) and pulled-pork sandwiches ($8) cooked in beer (notice a pattern?), will be holding a daylong event starting at noon, featuring an array of drink specials and a beer pong tournament. It all culminates after the opening ceremony—which will be screened on the bar’s flatscreen TV—with a costume contest. Come dressed as your favorite Olympian, past or present, and the guy or gal with the best getup wins the gold medal, a free growler and eternal Olympic glory (sort of). Check for more details.

  1. 134 Kingsland Ave, (at Beadel St)
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Standings Bar

  • Free

You’ll find all manner of supporters (even Red Sox fans) at this East Village stalwart, but come the Olympics, we’re all Americans. Especially when the food of champions is involved: pizza. Conveniently, the bar’s weekly free-pie special—offered Fridays at 8pm—coincides with the broadcast of the opening ceremony. The pizza is ordered in, and patrons on hand are encouraged to help themselves. Sip on a 72-ounce pitcher of one of the bar’s range of domestic microbrews ($20), while watching NBC’s coverage with sound on one of the eight HDTVs. (212-420-0671,

  1. 43 E 7th St (between Second and Third Aves)


  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This 2011 TONY Food & Drink Award nominee boasts wood-paneled decor and an untraditional classy menu for a sports bar, but it does have three 50-inch TVs that usually screen MLS and international soccer games. On July 27, the televisions will be tuned to the broadcast of the opening ceremony. Settle in and toast the athletes with drink specials: a selection of $3 beers and shots of Evan Williams ($3). Come back over the following two weeks to watch soccer, badminton and other Olympic events.

  1. 583 Vanderbilt Ave, (at Dean St)
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The Churchill

  • Price band: 2/4

Another option for those wishing they could be in London for this year’s games is this English tavern, which will show the opening ceremony on its eight HDTVs. The London 2012 Happy Hour (Fri 27 4–7pm) features cocktails made especially for the occasion, such as the gin-based High Jump ($10). Return during the games to try a specially commissioned ice cream from the London Candy Company. Plus, anytime the Brits take home a gold medal, all patrons in the bar will receive a surprise treat. (Hint: It’s not a random drug test.)

  1. 45 E 28th St, (between Madison and Park Aves)
More info