So you and your mates are off to Old Trafford to watch your favourite team. You’ve heard so much about the atmosphere that you want to come as prepared as possible. You’ve got your club jersey, scarf and anything to show your undying loyalty as a fan. You’ve even got your club anthem down to a pat.
You picture yourself in the stadium, hearing the uproarious taunts as the opposing team takes a corner kick. You shout yourself hoarse as your team scores a goal. It’s 90minutes of adrenalin pumping, sweat breaking and chest beating show of loyalty and machismo from you and fellow fans. You’d better have a meal before this all consuming game.
You think about a pre-game meal – a good hearty steak and kidney pie. You hear that’s the staple in stadium food outlets usually devoured at half time. And isn’t that now famous chant, – “Who ate all the pies” – an obvious aim at overweight footballers, officials or opposing supporters. Down it with a few glasses of cold English beer. The atmosphere at the pub before a game is electrifying. It dawns on you that the EPL experience doesn’t start and end at the stadium; it’s at the pubs, eateries, restaurants, gastropubs where other fans trot in for a pre game meal and a taste of what is to come and after the game for celebratory drinks.
UK has more than 50,000 football clubs and in England itself, 320 football clubs are affiliated to the Football Association. The British are serious about their football and tickets to a Premiership game are not easy to come by. A ticket may cost anything between £25 and £85. If you are in town to catch your team, here’s where you can get some pub grub and a dose of pre game scene.
London itself boasts a smorgasbord of eateries with more Michelin restaurants in Mayfair than anywhere in UK. For a great pre meal game though, forget about the restaurants and sit yourself at one of the many pubs and gastropubs that are popping up in London. The food is simple but made with sophisticated and often, local English produce like cured ham and farmhouse cheese. Don’t discount the fact that gastropubs are essentially pubs and offer a full range of beers to lubricate that throat. Here are places that can fill your hunger and fuel your competitive spirit:
Your first instinct may be to stay close to the ground but when in Arsenal watching ‘The Gunners’, avoid pubs near ground and instead head to Islington where there are some fabulous places to eat.
The Drapers’s Arms offers beautifully executed gastropub fare from foie gras to a good ole hearty flavourful steak. The pub was awarded Evening Standard “Pub of the Year” in 2003 for its exquisite food and relaxed setting.
Twelve Pins in Finsbury Park takes football really seriously. With a projection screen in the main room, it gives dining with a view a new meaning. Even if you haven’t got that ticket, get yourself a table at this pub and enjoy the game on the big screen amidst boisterous chants from your fellow fans. This place gives a good flavour of things to come at the game.
Bugle Horn is owned by a devoted fan. So even though it is officially a pub, it is in essence a museum of Charlton Athletic paraphernalia from autographed shirts to photos and even historic programs. Enjoy simple yet good British fare and its offer of cask-conditioned ale.
Trafalgar Tavern in Park Row, Greenwich is your quintessential British pub. It is situated near the Thames River and dates back to 1837. On the menu are good value British fare and ales and wines.
The White Horse in Parsons Green is a best bet if you are watching The Gunners. The pub is well-known and not too far from the ground. It is a great place for beer connoisseurs with special beers and ales on the menu. Also caters to the fans who are health conscious with their menu of organic drinks!
A bit of a change from a pub and get a hearty burger at one of the best burger bars in London. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen is located in Putney, not far from the ground and is great for a quick bite before or after a game.
Get into central London for a bite before heading to the ground to watch the Spurs. Check outhttp://www.urbanpath.com/london/gastro-pubs/index.htm for some of the best London gastropubs. For a designer gastropub, try the Empress of India in Hackney but for traditional British fare with English beers and wines, try out King Edward VII in Stratford.
The many restaurants that have evolved over recent years offer an eclectic range of culinary delights, from Latin American to Mongolian but most famous of all is the area in the city known as the ‘Balti Triangle’. A ‘balti’ is a uniquely spiced curry served in an iron pot making it a memorable meal and at good value for money. The city has been transformed in recent years with stunning public squares, canal side cafés, bars and award winning restaurants.
If you are short of time, the Aston Manor Hotel has a pub with a good solid pre game menu from game steak to chips to burgers. To get there, you’ll need to get to the North Stand on Witton Lane and it is situated just outside the Villa Park. A good bet for an electrifying pre/post game scene.
Eat out in Birmingham City Centre. Check out the Balti Triangle at Ladypool Road or visit one of the Victorian pubs and inns like The Old Crown for its traditional British fare and ales.
The city’s ethnic diversity has led to a wide range of dining choices when it comes to style. Being home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe has meant a plethora of Chinese restaurants, a significant proportion of which lie in the city’s Chinatown.
Philharmonic Dining Room at 36 Hope Street is a popular Victorian pub and as its name implies is located near the Philharmonic Hall in between two cathedrals. The bar is described as old world and the menu offers fans a straightforward British fare. This pub is ideal for a good value meal and drink but not the best pre game scene.
In Liverpool, no one knows beer better than Cains Brewery. So check outhttp://www.cains.co.uk/index/articles_view.php?
article_id=50&main_cat=1&cat_id=47&first_art=true&logger_name=Pubs for Cains Brewery recommendations of the best pubs in Liverpool.
There are plenty of pubs near The Old Trafford for a true blue pre game experience. However Manchester’s cuisine scene has grown and now offers an array of delectable eateries from International to British to Michelin Star restaurants to food markets. Manchester boasts of having the largest Chinatown in UK with notable Chinese restaurants and eateries.
Manchester City & Manchester Utd
With a microbrewery on the premises, the Lass-o-Gowrie, just off Oxford Road offers Red Devil fans Real Ales amidst a spine tingling pre game atmosphere. If you are catching a game in summer, head down to Samuel Platts in Salford Quay. Get a table outside by the banks and soak in the sun and the pre game scene.
For good food and a pub atmosphere, head down to any of these places – Mr Thomas’s Chop House, Dukes 92 and The Ox.
‘The Heaven’ or ‘The Castle’ called affectionately by The Magpies’ fans or other wise known as the St James’ Park, is situated right in the city centre making this one of the most accessible and convenient grounds in UK. There are plenty of pubs to cater to the fan crowd but do note that some pubs may refuse you entry depending on the colour you are wearing!
The Strawberry Pub attracts the pre and post game crowd with its big screens, jukebox and plenty of beer. It boasts a varied menu form traditional fare to exotic dishes to complement its range of ales.
The Keelman is a traditional family friendly bar that offers its own brewed ales. The menu offers traditional fare with a focus on local produce. Also offers room for board at reasonable prices. The Keelman is good for food and drinks but not the best in pre and post game scene.
There are plenty of pubs around The Reebok stadium but not all may be welcoming depending on which team you are supporting.
The Duke of Wellington, Lostock is slightly outside town but it is definitely worth a visit for its food and Real Ales.
Only ten minutes away from Ewood Park, the home ground of the Rovers, Millstone Hotel offers visiting fans home cooked food, full range of drinks and room for board. Dine here for traditional Lancashire fare and cask beers. The Millstone Hotel is great for good food, drinks and general atmosphere but not for pre and post game scene.
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