Generalisations about beer culture

Can a pub with football on the telly be any good?

Portugal warming up at the 2006 World Cup in Germany
Portugal warming up at the 2006 World Cup in Germany

CAMRA guides to pubs often praise the absence of a TV screen, and indeed, a big sign outside a pub boasting Sky / Setanta sports and a big screen is usually synonymous with mediocre beer.

I can see why people hate TVs in pubs, because they can distract people from conversation and detract from the atmosphere.

But occasionally, I do want to watch a football match in the pub, and I always have to compromise on the quality of the beer (and pub) to do so.

Has anyone got any suggestions for places in central London that are really good pubs with nice beer that just happen to have a screen? Or are the two mutually exclusive?

I suppose what you need is a pub that has several sections, where you can keep the football in a discrete area, so everyone’s happy.  In Germany, both during the World Cup in 2006 and the European Championships this year, loads of cafes and bars got in screens, but put them outside, helping to create a fantastic street party atmosphere.

Incidentally, Zeitgeist is pretty good for big sporting events, but you have to choose your night carefully, as Bundesliga and Germany qualifiers get priority!


6 replies on “Can a pub with football on the telly be any good?”

Can’t think of any traditional pubs that serve both purposes but I’m with you on the occasional need for them.

At the risk of getting shot to pieces, the Crosse Keys on Gracechurch Street has Sky/Sentanta on a projector screen the size of the side of a house and is open weekends. Also has 18 handpumps which are all in use and unique during Wetherfest times.

*Runs for cover*

I think – as a beer fan AND a football nerd – there’s a medium that has to be struck somewhere. I’m lucky enough to have a cabal of friends who not only like the game, but the beer too, and have a pub in Leeds thats serves great beer and shows the games (Mr Foleys’) –
However – there’s a time and a place. When we go there ‘to watch the game’ , it’s to do just that. the fact that we have a place that serves fine ales is a bonus. I still think the two should be kept apart, and aren’t really of the same world. I’m just lucky. If it’s a good game, convo stops and to be honest, as does the notice of the beer involved. As it happens, for the record, tonight i’m sat at home watching something else, rather than pay £3 for a pint of Carling in some ‘Sports Bar’, Springbok or Walkabout just to watch the game.
Also, for the record, I have enjoyed many a night in the med, on holiday, watching major tournaments with friendly, happy locals, all drinking ok beer. It’s pleasant, with the sun setting and all. Maybe it’s a british thing.

I would agree with Dubbel about the Cross Keys, good beers and enough space to actually watch a game and not be nudged out of the way every few seconds.

If you want somewhere a little more interesting, my old flatmate took me to a pub called the Albion in Bethnal Green years ago. Believe it or not the pub is themed around West Bromich Albion (my flatmate was a WBA supporter) and would show their games even before they were in the premiership.
I have not been for a few years but if I recall correctly they had Landlord and Pride on tap. Its not very big but nice friendly atmosphere.

I hate football (in fact all sport) but the Wig & Pen in Norwich has a big screen and serves 5 or 6 great ales. I drink there despite the screen.

Zeitgeist turned out to be quite a good call for the match tonight – it being a German pub, it wasn’t heaving with English yobs but was pretty busy. Thrilling German match as a warm up too.

Andy – a WBA-themed pub? Now this I have to see…

We show football upstairs in our private room (really part of the flat). I crammed 25 mates in there for the Champions League final, and they drained a cask of Landlord the time it took to watch the game.

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