Match Day: A Premier League Survival Guide
It’s that time of year again… those last few days of peace and quiet before the Premiership starts. You have until the 8th of August to mow the lawn, fix the sink, and spend full weekends with the family before all hell breaks loose and England’s greatest teams begin their ten month battle for glory.
It’s all about to kick off, and if you’ve ever travelled to a game you’ll know that the best place to be when it does kick off is watching your team play in their home ground. And it’s not just the 90 minutes they’re on the pitch, it’s the whole day – that build-up before the game, having a few pints and grabbing some food before walking to the stadium with thousands of other people, singing and shouting and feeling the adrenaline. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a little list of the best places for pre-match pints and food for footy fans who want to get the ultimate home-fan experience at some of England’s most visited football grounds.
Get your game face on…
Pints: If you’re going to see the Gunners play, go drink at the Gunners pub beforehand, it’s great craic on match day. It’s just over ten minutes from here to Emirates, and it a rite of passage for any true gooner who travels to watch them play.
Grub: Piebury Corner, all day every day. They make pies, in case you weren’t sure. Awards winning ones. They’ve a stall and a shop, one on either side of the stadium so it couldn’t be easier to find them and fill yer boots with pie, mash and loads of gravy.
Pints: The Boleyn Tavern is a huge, rowdy spot to get your pint in before a match. It’s a Hammers’ haunt and the perfect place to get hyped up. There’s a fairly heft police presence outside on match day, so any… ‘excessive’ high spiritedness is usually kept in check. 3 minutes from Upton Park.
Grub: Pies again. If you’re a hammer, and you’ve gone to see the Hammers play, the proper ritual is to head for pie, mash and liquor at Nathan’s Pie Mash & Eels. It’s cheap and cheerful, and you can order double everything if you’ve a serious appetite on you. This is just how things are done round here. Oh and it’s not liquor liquor.
Pints: If you’ve travelled to see Chelsea play, what you want on game day is as much atmosphere as possible. The Prince of Wales on Lillie Road is a noisy and busy pub to get your pre-match pints in. It’s big enough to hold a decent crowd, and it’s less than a mile’s walk from Stamford Bridge (around 15 minutes on foot).
Grub: It’s a 15 minute walk from both the stadium and the Prince of Wales, but the stroll to Bailey’s Fish and Chips will be fifteen of the most worthwhile minutes you’ve ever spent walking anywhere. Their fish and chips are pretty famous, so much so that they’re #22 of all London restaurants on TripAdvisor. Do yourself a favour…
Pints: Loads of the old faithful pubs for Spurs fans have closed over the last few years, so the choice of true, old school Lilywhite pubs ain’t what it used to be. But you can always count on the Bricklayers Arms for a lively but relaxed pre-match atmosphere (and cheap pints), and it’s only a 5 minute walk to White Hart Lane.
Grub: Chick King is in between the Bricklayers and White hart Lane. It gets seriously busy on match days, but this fried chicken is so good that its easy to understand why. Prepare for queues out the door and down the street. Totally worth it.
Pints: The Thomas Frost is a good option for Blues, about a 15 minute walk from Goodison Park. It will have a mix of home and away fans but it is an Everton pub, and the atmosphere is usually great before the game. It gets busy but you won’t go out of your mind trying to get served. If you’re Red and going to Anfield, have pints in the Albert, it’s right by the Kop and it’s a friendly place with a great buzz (but you’ll wait to be served on match day).
Grub: Everton fans know that the best chippy in the area is the Goodison Supper Bar. You’ll see this statement verified by the long blue queue streaming out the door and down the street on match day. Liverpool fans, go to Homebaked bakery for a killer pie. This is some gourmet stuff, made with love, that’ll make you feel as good as a home win. Almost.
Pints: If you’re going to see United play at home, you’ve got to head to The Bishop Blaize on Chester Road. Get there early because it gets absolutely rammed, but do get there. It’s the place where reds get rowdy before the game (make sure you bring your ticket; it’s required for entry). Man City fans heading to the Etihad Stadium, for the ultimate city pre-match pint it’s got to be Mary D’s Beamish bar just a stone’s throw from the stadium. Both stadia are just 20 minutes from the city centre though, and there are loads of great bars there to choose from.
Grub: Harry Ramsdens is only 5 minutes from Bishop Blaize and ten from Old Trafford – you can always rely on their fish and chips. The United Café nearby also does a decent sausage and chips (but sells out fast on match day. City fans, if you’ve been to Mary D’s just head next door to Tony’s Stadium Chippy – it’s a bit of a living legend along with Mary D’s, and the chips are famous. Whatever team you’re in Manchester to see, try to make it to Curry Mile after the match and eat like a king.
Pints: The Strawberry is the perfect Toon pub for a pint on match day. It’s guaranteed to have a seriously good atmosphere, the staff are renowned for being really friendly, and you are quite literally one minute’s walk from St James’ Park. It gets very heaving very quickly on match days, so if it’s a bit much, try Rosie’s on Stowell Street or the Newcastle Arms (St Andrew’s Street).
Grub: You’ll be happy to know that Newcastle’s Chinatown is just beside the stadium, and it’s not just a good place to get Chinese food. There are loads of good chippers as well as top notch Chinese, Indian, Italian and Japanese restaurants, and even a cheeky Nando’s in the Gate shopping centre. You’re actually spoiled for choice around here, so take your pick.
If you have any good pre-match tips for home supporters of any of these clubs – or any advice for away-fans visiting any of these grounds who don’t want to walk into an opposition pub! – let us know in the comments below…