Pour the wine and dust off the bunting — Eurovision is back. The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is being hosted in Tel Aviv, with the final being broadcast from 8pm on BBC One on Saturday 18 May.
The theme this year is 'dare to dream', and the UK's entry is singer Michael Rice. Given that we've not exactly endeared ourselves to our European neighbours in recent months, we're not expecting great things for the UK. However, if you love glitter, strobe lighting and cheese, it's still worth a look.
Looking for somewhere to watch the show? Here are some of the best Eurovision 2019 parties and screening events in London.
Alternative Eurovision 2019 at Underbelly Festival
A few days before the main event, South Bank's Underbelly Festival offers its own Alternative Eurovision show, taking the form of cabaret performers from various countries going up against each other to compete for the crown. The show's in its 10th year, so we now to expect sequins and silliness by the bucketload.
The Water Poet's Eurovision 2019 party at The Crown & Shuttle
In past years, our-go party has been the Water Poet in Spitalfields. Sadly, the pub closed a couple of months ago... but the party lives on. Sister venue The Crown & Shuttle — handily located just around the corner — takes up the mantle of hosting east London's infamous Eurovision party. The same team runs this shindig, with multiple screens showing the action, special cocktails, and past Eurovision tunes being played, plus a costume competition with a 'toys' theme, as a nod to last year's winner.
Eurovision 2019 party at Nordic Bar, Fitzrovia
Drinks deals, singalongs and prizes all feature in Nordic Bar's Eurovision screening party, with the action in Tel Aviv shown on screens around the venue.
Advance tickets have sold out, but we're informed tickets are available on the door on the night. They include a bottle of beer or glass of wine to get the party started — and it's worth getting there early (especially if you haven't booked) as happy hour runs 12pm-7pm.
Eurovision Party London 2019 at Rio Cinema, Dalston
European themed drinks and Israeli food — mmm, falafel — are on the menu from 6pm, and a karaoke competition kicks off at 7pm. Sign up in advance to live out your Eurovision dreams with a rendition of a song by a past Eurovision act. The winner receives a real trophy, so it's high stakes stuff.
Of course, the full competition in Tel Aviv is screened, and when that wraps up (around midnight), the party continues with a DJ spinning Eurovision hits.
Three bars in the venue remain open for the duration of the event, meaning your nearest 'Eurotastic' drink is never far away.
Eurodisco 2019 at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club
Bethnal Green Working Men's Club begins the Eurovision fun a week in advance, with the Eurofiestón, a club night blending English and Spanish cultures and celebrating the uniting powers of music, split across two rooms. The dress code is 'Eurovisible', so interpret that how you will, but at the very least weave a flag or two in there somewhere.
On the night itself, the venue's legendary Eurodisco returns. Doors open a 7pm (with a free Buck's Fizz — see what they did there? — for the first 100 people) to give you a chance to bag the best seats for the 8pm screening on two huge screens. Commentary is provided by two hosts, with games and dancing drowning out the boring bits — although there is a quiet zone for any super-serious Eurovision fans who need to hear every single word. And of course, there's an after party, with a DJ playing cheesy pop and dancefloor fillers.
Eurovision at Bierschenke, Liverpool Street
Munich-style beer hall Bierschenke promises 'a bunch of men in leather shorts' to accompany your viewing across 12 HD screens. DJ Dave plays past Eurovision songs to fill the gaps between the action, and booking a table is recommended.
Eurovision party at The Windmill, Waterloo
Is there a more apt London location for a Eurovision party than Waterloo? Fuller's pub The Windmill throws a screening party, with the contest shown on five screens. The evening kicks off with a Eurovision hits playlist, games, and scorecards to make your nil points predictions. They're not holding back on the decorations, with themed tables, and golden balloons full of confetti, ready to be popped during the celebrations.
Booking a table in advance is recommended.
Dash Cafe does Eurovision
Regular European culture evening Dash Cafe takes on Eurovision, in a post-competition event. Eurovision superfan Richard Dedomenici and expert and media commentator Paul Jordan — aka Dr Eurovision, who wrote his PhD thesis on the subject — make an appearance, to offer an in-depth but tongue-in-cheek look at the stories and politics behind the competition. Expect a few impromptu performances of past Eurovision songs too.