12th August 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015: Where to Eat and Drink in the Host Cities

Whether you’re heading to Cardiff, Twickenham, Wembley or even Exeter, find out the best places to soak up the Rugby World Cup atmosphere with our host city travel guide:




bridge tavern

Tasty soakage at The Bridge Tavern


Venue: St James’ Park

Fixtures: South Africa v Scotland, New Zealand v Tonga, Samoa v Scotland

Pints:  Newcastle is a city that knows how to have a good time and with 27 different beers on offer at Stein Bierkeller, there’s no excuse not to get involved. Fancy a taste of the local brew? Sup real ale at The Bodega, a traditional Victorian-style spot and later, head on to the bars and clubs of Collingwood Street.

Grub: Tuck into American-style  smokehouse BBQ fare at Bierrex Smoke & Tap,  grab a greasy cure for the morning after the night before at Fat Hippo Underground, expand your taste-buds with Dabbawai Indian Street Food, or gorge on sharing planks of pulled pork and fish and chips at The Bridge TavernThe Broad Chare prides itself on its ‘proper food and beer’ – expect British pub grub with a Newcastle twist.




Jakes bar and still room

Jake’s Bar and Still Room


Venue: Elland Road

Fixtures: Italy v Canada, Scotland v USA

Pints: When the sun is shining, there’s nowhere better to soak up the pre-match atmosphere than Whitelocks‘ beer garden in Leeds. For something a little different, practice your swing on a simulated golf course in Golf Bar on Neville Street.

After the game, make your way to Call Lane, the beating heart of the city’s independent bar scene. Check out Jake’s Bar and Still Room for unique spirits distilled on premises or stop by The Elbow Room for a game of pool.

Grub: The restaurants of Leeds certainly know how to pack a punch, not least, the ever popular Friends of Ham. For ethnic flavours head to BundoBust where they specialise in Indian street food and craft beers. Early start? The Greedy Pig is great for breakfast, while brewery-run gastro pub, The Midnight Bell is a fail-safe lunch option.




sincalirs oyster bar

Buzzing: Sinclair’s Oyster Bar


Venue: Manchester City Stadium

Fixtures: England v Uruguay

Pints: Forget preconceived images of musty ‘Rovers Return’ style pubs. Manchester has a thriving bar scene, with one of the best selections of craft beer pubs in all of the UK. Quench your thirst at micro brewery Marble Arch or sample over a hundred bottled beers (preferably not all at once) at Port St Beerhouse. Don’t miss a minute of the action on the field at Tib St Tavern, an excellent sports bar in the Northern Quarter. For traditional pints in the sun, you can’t beat  Sinclair’s Oyster Bar.  Later, round off the night with a pub crawl through Deansgate Locks.

Grub:  Owned by footballer Rio Ferdinand, Italian restaurant Rosso is a surpringly good (and not overly expensive) spot for dinner. Stuck for time? A burrito at Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn will most definitely hit the spot. For Great British classics, try The Albert Square Chop House.



Foxton locks

Pints with a view: Foxton Locks Inn



Venue: Leicester City Stadium

Fixtures: Argentina v Tonga, Canada v Romania, Argentina v Namibia

Pints: The country village charm of The Bricklayers Arms makes it the ideal pub for a pre-match session.  The Old Horse, a 19th century coaching inn is another landmark watering hole – sample local ales outside in the beer garden, weather permitting.   For a complete change of scenery, head to Aprés Lounge, a quirky city centre venue that’s decked out to look like an après ski bar in the Alps or take in the canal-side views at Foxton Locks Inn, located right on the water.

Grub:  For reasonably priced Italian fare, check out Timo, the pizza and pasta venture by Martin Castrogiovanni and Geordan Murphy. The Boot Room with its modern British menu is always top-notch for lunch. Golden Mile bound? Don’t miss the amazing Indian and vegetarian cuisine at Bobby’s Restaurant.


Milton Keynes

brasserie blanc

Too good to ignore: Brasserie Blanc

Venue: Stadium MK

Fixtures: France v Canada, Samoa v Japan, Fiji v Uruguay

Pints:  Head to the thatched 13th century gem that is The Swan Inn in the heart of Milton Keynes village and enjoy pints of the local ale in the most traditional location imaginable.  Fast forwarding to the 21st century and MK Social is a stylish bar and club with regular happy hour offers.  If you’re looking for even more choice, the all-encompassing  Hub quarter in the centre is home to several lively options.

Grub: Fancy a taste of la Dolce Vita? Prosecco is one of Milton Keynes’ standout Italian restaurants. For a totally tropical taste of the Caribbean head to Turtle Bay.  If you’re after great quality informal dining, look no further than Brasserie Blanc. Their mouth-watering steak frites and roast pork are too good to ignore.



cabbage patch

Ever popular: The Cabbage Patch


Venue: Wembley Stadium

Fixtures: New Zealand v Argentina, Ireland v Romania

Pints:  The Cabbage Patch has long been the go-to pub for rugby fans heading to Wembley. Stokes and Moncrieff is a relatively new kid on the block and is worth a butchers for the fact alone that it is owned by England rugby legend Simon Shaw.

Grub: There are plenty of restaurants on site at Wembley – with stadium prices to boot. In central London, you can’t go wrong with the following great quality, value- for-money London restaurant chains: Byron (burgers),  Wahaca (Mexican) and Comptoir Libanais (Lebanese).




Faltering fullback

Fan Favourite: The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park


Venue: Twickenham Stadium

Fixtures: England v Fiji, France v Italy, England v Wales, England v Australia, Australia v Wales, Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals, Final

Pints: Between The Cabbage PatchFamous Three Kings Barrow Boy and Banker and the Faltering Fullback, fans heading to Twickenham are spoilt for options when it comes to fuelling up on beers.

Grub: For sheer choice alone, your best bet is to stick to the restaurants and eateries of central London. Eat your fill of prime cuts and still come away with your wallet intact at Soho’s Flatiron Steak chain or keep hunger at bay with an enormous, mouth-watering Franco Manca pizza.  If you’re eating on the go, try accidently-on-purpose bumping into the amazing street stalls of Borough Market along the way.



peoples park tavern garden

Beers in the sun at The People’s Park Tavern


Venue: The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Fixtures: France v Romania, New Zealand v Namibia, Ireland v Italy, South Africa v USA, Bronze Final

Pints: Make it your business to pull up a bar stool at The People’s Park Tavern. When it’s sunny, take the party outside to the massive beer garden or head to The King Edward VII on Broadway and see how its bottled and draft ales from the UK and abroad measure up.

Grub: You don’t have to wander too far to find good value food near the Olympic Park. The Cow  gastro pub dishes out pulled pork, nachos and drool-inducing burgers with just the right amount of yee-haw.




burger brothers

Pulled pork goodness at Burger Brothers


Venue: Brighton Community Stadium

Fixtures: South Africa v Japan, Samoa v USA

Pints: Sink pre or post-match beers at the historic ship-themed Fortune of War pub or make yourself at home in the cosy environs of  The Basketmakers. If you’re on a winner’s buzz and feeling charitable, head to Robin Hood, Britain’s only charity pub, where all proceeds are donated to local good causes.

Grub: Stave off hunger pangs at Burger Brothers and Bardsley’s Fish and Chips and take advantage of good value lunches at Bom – Banes café and Sam’s of Brighton.  Craving something completely different? Try the vodka and Scandinavian sharing platters in Northern Lights or go for BBQ – style eats at The Coal Shed.



bills exeter

Bill’s: Expect sticky ribs and juicy burgers


Venue: Sandy Park

Fixtures: Tonga v Namibia, Namibia v Georgia, Italy v Romania

Pints: Thatched roof. Cosy log fire. Warm Devon welcome. The Blue Ball ticks all the boxes for the perfect post-match drinks spot.  Old Firehouse prides itself on its selection of cask ales and ciders, while the historic  Ship Inn and The Well House have been serving up pints to happy customers for hundreds of years. Planning a late one? Head to Timepiece nightclub, it’s set over three floors with everything from a beer garden to a burger bar.

Grub: Voted one of the top 50 gastro pubs in the UK, you can’t go wrong with the great value lunch and dinner menu at Jack in the Green.  More of a burger fan? Take fresh local ingredients, pile ’em high and build your own juicy tower at the Urban Burger or feast on sticky BBQ ribs and mouth-watering beef patties in the cool, converted warehouse surroundings of Bill’s. At Exeter Street Food Market, you can eat on the go from as little as £2.50.  Prefer a sit-down set up? Snag a booth and a side of all- American classics at Ruby Modern Diner.




Millennium Stadium Cardiff

Electric atmosphere: Millennium Stadium Cardiff


Venue: Millenium Stadium

Fixtures: Ireland v Canada, Wales v Uruguay, Australia v Fiji, Wales v Fiji, New Zealand v Georgia, France v Ireland, Quarter Finals, Quarter Finals

Pints: Keep it local with a round at The City Arms on Quay Street – it’s just a stone’s throw from the stadium. Still close by, Zerodegrees brews its own ales or if you’re prepared to walk a little further, an electric atmosphere awaits at Old Arcade.

Grub: For a quick bite, Lilo’s Grill House should hit the spot. When a celebration is called for, treat yourself to a mouth-watering steak at Miller and Carter in the Hayes area. Cardiff Bay has plenty of choice – The Bombay Café is a good pick. When it’s late and only grease will do, make your way to Chip Alley,  a row of kebab shops and takeaways on Caroline Street.



cider tree

Lively spot: The Cider Tree at The Coach and Horses

Venue: Kingsholm Stadium

Fixtures: Tonga v Georgia, Scotland v Japan, Argentina v Georgia, USA v Japan

Pints: Where better to get the pre-match party underway than in Teague’s Bar, owned by ex-England and Lions player Mike Teague? The Cider Tree at The Coach and Horses should also be on your radar, the same goes for the New Inn, a grade I listed pub that is Britain’s most complete surviving example of a medieval courtyard inn.  Just a short stroll away, you’ll find the Fountain Inn, a 16th century coaching inn renowned for its real ales.

Grub: For a reasonably priced lunch or dinner, pull up a chair at Café Rene.  The Barge Restaurant next to the docks prides itself on its traditional English menu – the fantastic Eton Mess is worth the trip alone. Meanwhile, Tiger’s Eye Fusion Restaurant serves up some of the city’s best sushi in 17th century surroundings.


the church inn

Heaven-sent soul food at The Church

Venue: Villa Park

Fixtures: South Africa v Samoa, Australia v Uruguay,

Pints: Hats off to The Old Joint Stock, there aren’t many pubs that combine a Grade II -listed theatre with a pub. If you’ve travelled from Down Under,  rub shoulders with fellow Aussies in Walkabout (Birmingham’s branch of this Australian bar chain).  The 1920s era Rose Villa Tavern is also worth checking out.

Grub: You can literally eat your way around the world in Birmingham. Sing hallelujah and praise the lawd for the soul food on offer in The Church, a New Orlean’s inspired gastropub that takes its name from its former house-of-prayer building.  The Jam House is another lively spot with its jazz infused surroundings, while the Balti Triangle area of the city dishes up some of the UK’s best Asian cuisine. More far flung flavours await in Bodega Cantina, where you can try an impressive selection of South American dishes and wines.  The set lunch and dinner menus at the award-winning Opus Restaurant offer a taste of locally produced fare at surprising reasonable prices.

Got your own Rugby World Cup tip to share?  Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

Fiona Hilliard

Fiona Hilliard

A love of new cultures is what drives Dublin travel writer Fiona Hilliard to explore the cities of Europe and beyond.

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