An increasing number of Londoners are finding themselves in the huddle after the NFL’s successful run of league games held at Wembley, with further fixtures including the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders set to take place later on this year.
But the dream for any fan is to be at the Super Bowl on Sunday 2 February, this year being fought out by the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Unfortunately, this is slightly beyond Zone 6, and tickets are rather in demand, if not eye-poppingly expensive.
For most London-based football* fans, watching it on the box alongside like-minded individuals with beer and snacks will be the nearest that they get to the MetLife this year. So slip your shoulder pads on, plant the helmet on your noggin and tackle our guide to watching Super Bowl XLVIII in London.
The Lane on Brick Lane plays host to a meetup especially for American expats, now in its twelfth year. The match and build-up will be projected onto several large screens. Expect cocktails, craft beers, chicken wings, nachos, burgers and salads. Doors open at 9pm and the party continues till 4am. Tickets £15 in advance, £20 on the door.
Music-lovers will attest that this venue has an awesome sound system. On Sunday night, the place will be packed to the rafters with NFL fans who will be able to hear every bone-crunching tackle as though they’re stood on the pitch. Best of all, all proceeds go to Amnesty International. 5 Little Portland St, W1W 7JD, £8.
Slug and Lettuce (hosted by XYXX)
It’s a common dilemma. You want to cheer, but a lack of leadership means that it’s both discordant and out of sync. Luckily, event promoters XYXX have foreseen this problem and arranged for cheerleaders to head-up the chants during their Super Bowl party. As well as the big game on a big screen (obvs), they’ll also have interactive games courtesy of Xbox, Super Bowl memorabilia, Face-painting (for the kids?) and a drum line quartet. Slug & Lettuce, 5 Lisle St, Leicester Square, WC2H 7BG. General Admission £10 (Non-seated), variable prices for seating, depending on table size. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07947 169 872 / 07429 462 058
It would be a travesty if all-American diner Roadhouse was not to show the Super Bowl. Mercifully, a travesty has once again been averted as it continues the tradition of showing the game on its four big screens and eight plasmas. Head mixologist Vicky has even gone so far as to create a bespoke cocktail for the event, which is served with a ref’s whistle. Peep peep. Also in the mix (pun intended) is a hotdog eating competition, cocktail flaring contest and NFL merchandise giveaways. The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BE, £5 entry until 9pm (£10 after). Happy Hour 6.30pm-7.30pm. email@example.com / call 0207 379 6132 (ext 52)
According to the totally unbiased press release we received, Walkabout is THE place to watch the Super Bowl. In HD no less. The number of Australians in the UK might be falling, but it seems that Temple Walkabout is still going strong as it hosts yet another Super Bowl party. Temple Walkabout, Temple Place, WC2R 2PH. £10 entry only / £20 entry, 2 x Budweiser, Hot dog, fries and chicken wings.
Experts in barbequing food, Bodeans is also turning its hand to screening live sport by showing the Super Bowl at all four of its branches. For £30, guests can get a guaranteed seat, a beer and, at half time, what Bodeans does best – a chunk-load of smoked BBQ food. For those that want to watch the game from the comfort of their own sofa, it's also doing takeaway packs of food. Soho, Clapham, Tower Hill and Putney branches, £30.
Carlsberg Sports Bar
If Calrsberg did Super Bowl parties… less of the ‘if’ – they do now. The Carlsberg bar is located in Casino at the Empire on Leicester Square. Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis and for any spend over £15, you’ll get a £5 gaming chip to use on ‘party pit tables’. There are plenty of competitions taking place throughout the evening, deals on food and booze and the screen looks pretty impressive. They've even produced a Google Street View of the interior of the bar. The Casino at the Empire, 5-6 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NA, FREE.
We’ve been to Bloomsbury Lanes before and had a super bowl. So going there for the Super Bowl makes sense, if only for offering a very tenuous link for this description. Created ‘by the fans, for the fans’ the event was planned with some of the UK's leading NFL podcasts and websites with the whole venue open over two floors. Entertainment includes DJs, karaoke, beer pong and, of course, bowling. Bedford Way, Basement of Tavistock Hotel, WC1H 9EU. Early bird + beer is £8 / general admission + beer is £10 or £15 on the Door.
There are big screens, and then there are whopping cinema-sized screens. If you want to see the game on a screen so big you can count the hairs on Max Unger’s beard, then this is the only place you want to be. The audio is pumped out in 5.1 pro-theatre surround sound too, so you’ll also be able to hear the thumping tackles through vibrations in your abdomen as well as through your ears. 128-132 Borough High St, SE1 1LB, £5