Cheers! Salud! Proost! Skål! The Best London Bars To Watch Euro 2012

Fancy watching games not involving England with the locals? Here's how to get down with the Dutch, sink a few with the Swedes and laugh at Torres with the Spanish...
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Fancy watching games not involving England with the locals? Here's how to get down with the Dutch, sink a few with the Swedes and laugh at Torres with the Spanish...


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The boozer or a barbeque are all well and good but London offers so much more for watching Euro 2012. Here’s a rundown of some of the capital’s best European-themed bars, as well as what to drink and eat in order to truly embrace the occasion

Holland

Where to watch?

On the outskirts of Chinatown is De Hems, where Dutch ex-pats have been congregating for over 100 years. Most days it’s a thriving Soho boozer but during Holland games it bustles with orange. Hundreds had to be turned away for Holland’s games at the 2010 World Cup, making for a pretty decent atmosphere for the overspill at the nearby O’Neill’s too.

What to drink

Dutch beer is widely available in British pubs these days so take your pick from Grolsch, Heineken or Amstel. Expect the Advocaat to make an appearance when toasting victory.

What to eat

Dutch match snacks are based around cheese and meat. Frikandellen, a spicy sausage popular all over northern Europe, and Bitterbal, a spherical meat croquette, are both available at De Hems.

What to expect from the fans

The Dutch are known for their open friendliness and will usually offer their opinions about players or how the game is going. Like most though, it’s best not to ask if they’re losing heavily.

What to sing

“Hup, Holland, Hup!” A football song written in 1950, which translates as “Go, Holland, Go!”

Germany


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Where to watch

You’re spoilt for choice if you want to join in the German fun. The Bavarian Beerhouse (Old Street, Tower Hill) offers the traditional rows of wooden benches and two-pint steins of lager. Octoberfest (Parsons Green), a specialist sports bar that shows Bundesliga games, has two giant screens and a selection of 81 German beers. Bierschenke (Temple) is the only one of the three that isn’t taking bookings for entry for the Euros.

What to drink

Where to start? One of the staple German lagers on these shores is wheat beer Erdinger, which also comes dark, but Krombacher and Lowenbrau are delicious options too. You can play it safe with Becks, but when there’s such a wide variety you might as well branch out. If it’s being served by charming frauleins in two-pint glasses, it’s going to be good.

What to eat

Schnitzel, Bratwurst and lashings of spuds will see you through the match, but if you haven’t eaten for a few days try the Lumberjack’s Double Knuckle Challenge at Octoberfest. Das ist gut.

What to expect from the fans

A knowing sense of confidence and a safe knowledge that they’ll recover from any defeat.

What to sing

Three Lions became popular with German fans during Euro 96, and remains the best way to wind up the English if you become depressed enough to switch allegiances altogether.

France


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Where to watch

Le Bar De Magis in Clapham is a genuine French bar that always proves popular during major tournaments. Coloured in Lyon and Les Blues memorabilia, it’ll throng with French students and stages huge parties after France victories.

What to drink

Wine, naturally. It doesn’t go hand-in-hand with football, but to feel as French as possible, a nice bottle of sauvignon or merlot is just the ticket. There’s always Kronenbourg to fall back on.

What to eat

Your usual French dish deserves to have care and attention devoted to it rather than picked at while watching the match, but you can always nibble away at a cheese board or a croque monsieur.

What to expect from the fans

Passion to the extreme upon victory, lots of shrugging after a defeat.

What to sing

“Allez le Blues,” over and over again.

Sweden


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Where to watch

The Harcourt Arms, just off the Edgware Road, is devoted to all things Swedish. Allsvenskan and Ice Hockey games are shown and Henrik Larsson is worshipped. They’re charging £6 to get in during Sweden games, but you get a pint back with your ticket.

What to drink

The entire Koppaberg range is summer in a bottle, and a shot or two of Absolut Vodka will round things off nicely.

What to eat

Meatballs are a must, though not the Campbell’s variety from a tin. Otherwise, spice up your ryvita with some pickled herring.

What to expect from the fans

Cute blonde girls with tiny Swedish flags painted on their cheeks and men that can drink a lot.

What to sing

“In med bollen i mål, in med bollen i mål, in med bollen i mål.” Which, for a nation that produced Abba, disappointingly translates as, “just put the ball into the goal, just put the ball into the goal.”

Portugal


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Where to watch

Part of Stockwell is known as Little Portugal, where options for watching the national team aren’t too hard to come by. One of the best options is Bar Estrela, a football bar devoted to FC Porto, which has an authentically Iberian atmosphere and notable range of scarves hanging behind the bar.

What to drink

Super Bock, the nation’s most popular tipple, is usually a pale lager, but also comes in stout, wheat beer and fruit varieties. Sagres is another solid option.

What to eat

The Portuguese are proud of their seafood, and there’s a specialist restaurant next to Estrela which will serve up some mussels after the game. Otherwise, you’re probably not far from a Nandos.

What to expect from the fans

The Portuguese should be used to failure at major international tournaments by now, having made the semis of five of them and never won any. Expect them to be prepared for defeat.

What to sing

“Portugal allez,” repeated several times to the melody you’ll recognise from any national team game.

Spain


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Where to watch

There are plenty of Spanish bars in London, but the prime venue for football is probably Caminos in Kings Cross, which the BBC frequently visited during the last World Cup. “Unapologetically, unpretentiously Spanish,” according to the Evening Standard.

What to drink

Caminos offers a selection of almost 40 wines but you might as well throw yourself in and go for sangria. Beer offerings include Estrella Damm and Mahou.

What to eat

Tapas, and lots of it. In many ways it’s the perfect football food – tasty, nibbley and varied. You’ll feel like you’re on Las Ramblas in no time.

What to expect from the fans

Twirling of scarves and banging of drums when it’s going well, waving of white hankies and whistling when it’s not. The Spanish have finally got used to success, so their reaction to an unlikely defeat will be testing.

What to sing

Plenty of Spanish chants will be familiar to British ears: “Viva Espana,” “Ole ole ole,” and possibly come July 1, “Championes.”

Best of the rest

Poland: White Eagle Club, Balham

Ireland: Waxy O’Connors, West End

Czech Republic: Czech and Slovak Club, West Hampstead

Neutral: Bar Kick, Shoreditch

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