Stadiums can be overrated and overpriced, so Hannah Burton has tracked down the best bars to catch the rugby…
The Six Nations is one of the world’s most-watched sporting events, drawing in an average of 72,000 spectators at every match and around 120 million people tune in over the tournament. The games are broadcast in 190 countries and streamed in a further 20. It’s been reported that as people get more and more desperate to attend, touts are making a fortune – tickets for England v France have been resold online for a whopping £1650 each, plus transaction fees of £610. That’s enough to make a grown man cry, whatever the result of the rugby.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets when they first went on sale and a 4445% price increase seems excessive, fear not – you don’t have to be relegated to the living room. We’ve compiled a list of the best places in Britain to enjoy the rugby, with great game-day atmosphere and superb food and drink. With all of these cracking venues to choose from, who wants to sit on cold plastic seating anyway?
Notting Hill’s Red Lemon has recently been refurbished so is the ideal spot from which to enjoy the Six Nations fixtures in comfort and style. This gastropub boasts high Victorian ceilings, Chesterfields and a roaring fire – at full time you won’t want to leave. Enjoy the thug’s game with a gentleman’s plate of pork belly and a perfect pint.
As the capital of a rugby-loving nation, Cardiff can almost guarantee a great atmosphere throughout the Six Nations tournament. If you’ve had your fill of watching in traditional pubs, Cosy Club could be the perfect venue for you – it’s cosy (as the name suggest), it’s quirky and the food and drink menus are fantastically varied. Enjoy the rugby under the watchful eyes of several mounted stag heads while you tuck into one of the epic burgers or a venison pie.
The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer – Bristol
The Volley, as it’s known by regulars, has friendly staff, a charming interior and an excellent food menu that includes some of the best steak in Bristol. They take drink seriously, too, sourcing beer from the finest microbreweries in the UK and cider from the best West Country suppliers. Get there early – there’s so much to choose from that you’re going to want some time to think before you place your order.
Applejack’s in York is an American-style sports bar and diner, so you know you’re in safe hands when it comes to screening sport. As well as boasting huge screens, Applejack’s also has a menu based on classic American diner food – look forward to nachos, beer-can chicken and hot dogs, as well as puddings like warm apple pie.
Although Nine Sports Bar and Lounge is better known to football fans (it’s situated in St James’ Park), it’s a venue that appreciates good sport above all else. They’re screening every game of the Six Nations, and will be serving up classic hearty food like burgers and burritos alongside good beer and a huge cocktail list, should you fancy something a bit different.
Leicester’s Grosvenor Casino includes a 24-hour sports bar and lounge with a 100-inch screen, ideal for watching one of the best sporting events of the year on. The menu touches on the best of the US, with burgers and wings. The glamorous restaurant is ideal for a more indulgent meal before heading to the bar for the game.
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