The World Cup is back this Summer, and Southampton is the place to be for this essential football viewing.
It’s that time again, when all football fans set their differences aside to share the joy – or more recently the suffering – of being an England fan in a major competition.
To say the Three Lions have struggled on the greatest stage in recent years would not be an exaggeration, however if fans of the beautiful game are guilty of anything its continued, almost unwarranted, optimism.
As a result, the nation’s supporters will be flocking to their local pub or bar in search of that prime position in front of the projection, ready for 90 minutes of nerves, most probably and, just maybe, jubilation.
Luckily Southampton has the very best when it comes to bar hosted sports coverage; from Portswood to Above Bar street, there’s something for everyone.
Here are five of the best places for your summer of sport, please note the below opening times may vary…
5 – The Bedford Arms
23 Bedford Place, SO15 2DB
Open 10am – 12am (1am Friday and Saturday)
If you are a student, there are fewer places to suit your taste for the football this summer than Bedford Arms.
Alongside being in the perfect location for the plethora of students living in Bedford Place, the organisation also offers a student card which allows for discounted drinks.
It’s services also include a reasonable priced food menu, pool and dart facilities, a small smoking veranda and music under lights for after the game; something we may need as England fans to get over the inevitable last-minute Tunisia winner on opening day!
With screens in every corner of the establishment, you are likely to get a good view of the action from wherever you are sat, meaning Bedford Arms should definitely be a consideration for your fix of the World Cup this June and July.
4 – Yates
113-117 Above Bar Street, SO14 7FH
Open 10am – 11:30pm (1am Thursday, Friday and Saturday)
An equally prime location for any students hoping for their World Cup fix this summer.
A short walk across the park from the Solent University student accommodations, Yates is a popular choice for sports viewing on Southampton’s main high street.
With a main area including a projection screen opposite the downstairs bar, alongside seating upstairs and a range of different screens to focus your attention on throughout the bar, Yates are sports viewing goes hand-in-hand.
Also offering food, snooker facilities and a smoking area; Yates provides a key alternative to Bedford Arms for those situated across the other side of the city.
3 – 5 Rivers Sports Bar
The Dungeon, 30 Bevois Valley Road, SO14 0JR
Open 5pm – 11pm (3pm-12am Friday / 12pm – 12am Saturday / Sunday 12pm – 10:30pm)
The 5 Rivers is one of the few sports oriented bars in Southampton; the perfect location for your essential World Cup viewing.
Located in the Portswood area of the city, this sports venue holds 8 screens, alongside a pool table, dart board and even a private games room.
And of course, you would be a fool not to make the most of the sunshine during half time, something the 5 Rivers can provide through its beer garden.
This Portswood establishment also offers something different through its choice of traditional Indian BBQ food, providing a tasty alternative to the standard pie and mash.
Whilst the other venues are in a good location for Solent students, Uni of Southampton students will be glad to hear the 5 Rivers is situated within a 15 minute walk of the main campus.
2 – The Spitfire
130-132 Above Bar Street, SO14 7DU
Open 9am – 12am (2am Friday and Saturday)
Another venue on Southampton’s main Above Bar Street is The Spitfire; just a minute walk away from one of our other picks Yates and another key pick for students thanks to a 10% discount.
Alongside a vast menu and plenty of screens in all areas, The Spitfire is another top pick for those looking to stay within the city centre and nearby any shops in preparation for that inevitable need for retail therapy as England fall to Panama on June 24th.
The Spitfire also support a reward app for sports fans who have a love for watching the football, rugby and just about anything at the pub with their mates.
The Green Card app involves earning several rewards for watching sport at your favourite pub, something we can all get behind, right?
1 – The Grapes
41-43 Oxford Street, SO14 3DP
Open 12pm – 11:00pm (12:00am Friday and Saturday / 10:30pm Sunday and Monday)
The Grapes offers a quieter alternative for your World Cup sports viewing down the opposite side of town to the 5 Rivers.
Regarded as one of the most famous pubs in Southampton due to it’s location and links to the Titanic, The Grapes regards itself on it’s website as “a proper boozer with a modern twist.”
This Oxford Street venue has four large screens, describing itself as the perfect venue for sports viewing with your friends.
It may not have the rowdy atmosphere that Yates does, but still ensures an enjoyable ambiance for those big games.
So there you have it, venues across the city for all tastes, ages and bank accounts ready for the World Cup in the Summer.
Whether the football itself is up to the standards of these venues remains to be seen. But what we can’t deny is the appeal of the beautiful game in its ability to bring people together, through both joy and suffering, in a way in which very few things can rival.
And you never know, this could be the year where Gareth Southgate’s men surprise everyone and do the unthinkable. Fingers crossed.