Swing lo, sweet chariot...
Usually, when it comes to major sporting events, there's no problem finding a pub or a bar screening pretty much any game. However, the 2019 Rugby World Cup is in Japan. Those of you young enough to remember the 2002 Fifa World Cup will know that means early morning matches. Japan is eight hours ahead of London, and some of the pool stage games kicked off at 5.45am GMT.
Thankfully that's over, and the remaining games start no earlier than 8.15am. However, it's still tough to find places open early enough to show the games. Luckily for you, we've managed to seek out those rare early birds determined to catch the worm.
Flat Iron Square
Flat Iron Square is going all in for the Rugby World Cup, giving itself a makeover in honour of the host nation: Japan. That means Japanese food, drinks and merch is on offer. To the undoubted delight of anime fans, they've even named the exclusive upstairs private hire venue Akira. Every single World Cup game is screened here, no matter the hour. Considering this is an open air option, we recommend bringing some thick jumpers and blankets for those attending any dawn kick offs.
Flat Iron Square, 64 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
The Chelsea Courtyard
With such early starts you're going to need some caffeine to help you get through these games. West Londoners, you're in luck — if you order food at The Chelsea Courtyard during a match, there's unlimited tea and coffee on offer. The bright and airy drinking hub is screening all the home nation matches on a large screen.
The Chelsea Courtyard, 151 Sydney Street, SW3 6NT
The Clubhouse Bar
Head into the national home of rugby to watch the England vs Australia game on Friday 18 October. This clash between the two rugby heavyweights is to determine who makes the semi-final. England are the favourites, but you can never discount the Wallabies. Tickets cost £20, and that includes a cocktail or mocktail on arrival.
The Clubhouse Bar, Twickenham Stadium, Whitton Road, TW2 7BA
The Old Ship
The Old Ship in Hackney is offering a free round of beers on the house for anyone who pre-books to see a game they're screening... as long as they're eating. The pint must either be a Heineken or a Heineken 0.0% (that latter option might be smart, considering the time of day). The pub screens everything from now until the end of the competition.
The Old Ship, 2 Sylvester Path, E8 1EN
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There are five Belushi's dotted around London, and they're all pretty on it when it comes to screening sports. The Rugby World Cup in Japan is no different, and Belushi's are prepared. They've got a special 5am-10.45am menu on offer for the hardcore. The key to Belushi's is booking ahead, nab yourself a table, booth, stadium seating... or — if you're feeling especially luxurious — drop a whole £750 in the London Bridge branch and watch the match in a 'Man Cave' for you and your mates.
Belushi's, multiple venues.
Multi-restaurant-bar-street-hybrid The Prince in Earl's Court has been fitted out with big screens and is opening its doors at 7.30am for all the remaining games. The venue has teamed up with Woldpack Larger to provide the pints and new restaurant Wildcard is taking care of brunch — although at this hour, isn't it just breakfast?
The Prince, 14 Lillie Road, SW6 1TT
Skylight, Tobacco Dock
There's always the chance, when watching live sport, that things aren't going to go your team's way. When it all inevitably goes tits up and you can't bare to look at the screen no more, you need something else to focus on — which is where Tobacco Dock comes into play with its panoramic views of the city. Also, there's always the two different food stalls serving brunch to perk you up. Tickets cost £3 and booking ahead is advised.
Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street Entrance, E1W 2SF
Kensington High Street's stylish Japan House isn't the first place you'd naturally think of when someone mentions sports, but considering the host nation, it all makes sense. Of the quarter finals, only the Ireland game is being shown, due to a private event taking over on Sunday.
Japan House, 101-111, Kensington High Street, W8 5SA
The Mason's Arms
Here's another pub that's offering freebies in the hope that it will get people through the door, even at an unsociable hour. At The Mason's Arms, it's either a coffee or a pint of Guinness to get you through the game. The pub's showing all remaining matches, even if it didn't have the stomach for the earlier 5.45am starts. Weak. They'd never make it at scrum-half.
The Mason's Arms, 169 Battersea Park Road, SW8 4BT
Goose Island Brew Pub
Breakfast pizzas and Bloody Marys are the lure at Goose Island's Brew Pub in Shoreditch, which screens all of the games. With a menu like that, it sounds like they're expecting plenty of hard-core hungover punters. Although we're sure you'll still be welcome if you've got a bit of life in you at 10am on a Saturday.
Goose Island Brew Pub, 222 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PJ
The Faltering Fullback
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Possibly London's most legendary rugby pub. Just look at the name. Chances are this will be the best place to support the lads in green, but they'll still screen plenty of other games. Usually when it comes to rugby and the Fullback, we'd say get there early to make sure you get a seat, but you'll be getting there early no matter what for this tournament.
The Faltering Fullback, 19 Perth Road, N4 3HB
Despite — or perhaps because of — the early starts, we know that many of you will need a drink in hand. And where better to get one than The Gallery, which has nine beers on draft, plenty more bottles and cans, wines, cocktails and a whopping 101 whiskeys. Book ahead for a table to guarantee your watching spot and maybe order some waffles while you're there to soak up all that liquid.
The Gallery, 190 Broadhurst Gardens, NW6 3AY
Watching rugby in a pub at 9am could be a bit depressing... But watching rugby in a hidden speakeasy at 9am? You're living your best life. Especially if you dig into the Irish brunch menu (why hello, buttermilk waffles) while watching. Now that things have kicked into gear with the quarter finals, the bar is showing every match.
Homeboy, 108 Essex Road, N1 8LX
A brutal sport like rugby deserves to be viewed in a a stark venue. A stretch? Perhaps. But what isn't a joke are the serious offerings Black Bear Burgers have whipped up for early morning punters at Boxpark Shoreditch, like the Black Muffin — pork, black pudding, bacon, American cheese and Bloody Mary ketchup. The other Boxparks in Wembley and Croydon can't offer that, but they can still promise rugby on massive screens. You'll need to reserve free tickets for those two, so take a look at the website depending on your destination.
Boxpark, venues in Shoreditch, Wembley and Croydon
Know anywhere else screening matches? Comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.