English football fans -- or, to Americans, soccer fans -- love to meet up before a game, drink a few pints of lager and sing their team’s songs loudly. If you’re going to watch a home match at any of London’s stadiums, then you’ll want to go to a pub that attracts a good crowd of home-team supporters. We’ve tracked down the best match-day pubs for the 5 Premier League teams in London. If you can’t score a ticket to a game, you can watch the match on one of the pub TVs and discuss the best plays with impassioned fans when the match is over.
Emirates Stadium Pubs (Arsenal)
The Gunners pub is a true watering hole frequented by Gooners, as Arsenal fans are known, located a short walk from the stadium. It also doubles as a museum of team memorabilia -- the walls groan under the weight of programs and signed photographs dating back to the 1930s. All live Arsenal matches are screened on the large TVs behind the bar, and expect pre- and post-match singing, chanting and flag-waving while fans drain pint glasses of lager. For an equally electric atmosphere in a more up-market environment, try the Twelve Pins, near Finsbury Park Tube station, just a 10-minute walk from the stadium. They also screen every live Arsenal game, but are more welcoming to opposition fans who might happen to stumble in.
Stamford Bridge Stadium Pubs (Chelsea)
The poor Blues supporters at Stamford Bridge stadium, home ground to Chelsea, have seen their traditional pre-match hangout turned into a Polynesian bar that won’t allow singing or football shirts. So now fans have to choose among the remaining nearby pubs until they find one they can call home. A good bet is the spacious and airy Wheatsheaf, a fan favorite for years before and after games. Lloyds No. 1 bar near the Fulham Broadway Tube station also fills with fans on match days and serves some of the cheapest beer in London.
White Hart Lane Stadium Pubs (Tottenham Hotspurs)
The Bricklayers Arms is the place to drink with Tottenham supporters, as you can tell from the scarves, programs and photographs that adorn the walls. Located about a minute from the stadium, it gets packed on match days making it a little difficult to fetch a beer. For easier bar service, head across the road to the Bell and Hare, which has the largest beer garden in the area (with 3 bars) and is the pub of choice on sunny days. They light the grills on dry days so you can enjoy some barbecue, too.
Loftus Road Stadium Pubs (Queens Park Rangers)
On South Africa Road, right next to the stadium, you’ll find The Springbok Pub, the hangout of home fans on match days. The pub is decorated in blue and white, the colors of the Queens Park Rangers team, and has plenty of space to drink before and after the match. The South African-themed pub also has a darts board and pool table.
Craven Cottage Stadium Pubs (Fulham Football Club)
The Eight Bells, just around the corner from the Putney Bridge Tube station, is not only the pub of choice for Fulham fans before and after the match, it is also a must-see for history fans. The oldest ale house in Fulham’s history, it dates back to 1629 and is decked out with framed photographs and newspaper clippings -- one even dates back to May 1846. But, no worries, there is, in fact, a flat-screen TV for your football-viewing pleasure. For another option, the Golden Lion is an old-school match-day pub for Fulham fans. The beer is cheap for London and the landlady manages the show with aplomb.
All of these pubs aren’t exactly for the faint-hearted on match days. You’ll likely get jostled in the crowd and face long waits to get served at the bar. But if you are a football fan, there is nothing quite like it. The high-spirited singing will certainly enhance the game experience. And so will the beer.