You wait a year and a half then two sporting extravaganzas come along at once (wai. While the Euros continues to dominate the halves of our brain that enjoys lager and pointing at a screen while chanting unintelligibly with your name typed across your shoulders, Wimbledon occupies a rather more genteel, Pimm’s supping, Cliff singin’ in the rain appreciating, maybe a spot of red-trouser-wearing, territory.
It’s a fact well known that queuing for six hours for tickets to Wimbledon does not guarantee that you will actually see any tennis. You’re most likely to end up on Murray Mount eating a £30 punnet of strawberries watching the same game being screened you’d have enjoyed far more from Bluebird Chelsea. So here are the places in London that have it going on when the tennis is on…
Smith’s Bar & Grill
Your eyes deceive you: it’s not a giant deflated luminous tennis ball that’s just crushed John McEnroe but a soft and velvety white chocolate and vanilla sponge topped in coconut on a strawberry coulis.
The creation is on offer to visitors to Smith’s Bar & Grill who will be serving the dessert throughout the championships. They’ll also be screening matches on their huge projector screens as well as on numerous big tellies throughout the venue.
Where: 25 Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6EY
There’s no better place to go to watch the tennis. Arguably Wimbledon itself is a close second. The terrace at this King’s Road institution annually turns into a full-scale Wimbledon tribute.
This year Fever Tree are responsible for sponsoring the terrace, with their names emblazoned across the novelty tennis balls that strew the terrace, while their mixers are great to enjoy in a jug of Pimm’s.
The big screens will show every serve, rally and ‘new balls please’ as the championship progresses.
Where: 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
Greenaway’s Pie and Mash
You can’t watch the tennis at London’s only gourmet pie & mash shop, but you can certainly order one of these beautiful made-from-scratch pies, specially developed for Wimbledon.
Fashioned by pie legend Mark Greenaway, the pie has a baked strawberry cheesecake base and is topped with Scottish strawberries and Madagascan vanilla cream.
The perfect accompaniment to any Wimbledon game.
Where: 45 Villiers Street, Embankment, WC2N 6NE
A short walk from Liverpool Street Station, Devonshire Terrace not only has a large terrace, packed with TVs and, of course, a big screen, but unlike most courts at real Wimbledon, it’s weatherproofed with a huge canopy to protect from the English weather.
The ideal ‘I’ll just pop in for a couple minutes on the way home’ bar where you’ll inevitably end up leaving your partner a slurry voice message at around 10pm.
Where: Devonshire Square, The City, EC2M 4WY
The ideal combination, Wimbledon and brewery. The tap room at Wimbledon Brewery shares an SW19 postcode with the tennis and a love of local beers with the rest of us.
Which, of course, makes it the ideal haven during Wimbledon fortnight, with the tennis piped in via screens plus there will be tunes thanks to a DJ while local restaurant Liqui Liqui is on the food.
Where: 19 Prince Georges Road, #Unit 8, Wimbledon, SW19 2PT
The Rubens at the Palace
Wimbledon has always been only tangentially linked to tennis but mainly all about scoffing strawberries, cream and pastries. Which is where The Rubens comes into its own.
The hotel’s Wimbledon Royal Afternoon Tea includes honey and white chocolate scones, delicate sandwiches and pastries including the Royal Macaron of caramelised apples and coffee-whipped ganache.
Or, while you’re there, why not opt for the Lanson Champagne dinner. Lanson are the sponsors of Wimbledon and Executive Chef Ben Kelliher has created a tasting menu in honour of the tennis.
Where: 39 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, SW1W 0PS
Paternoster Square will be ringing out with cheers this Wimbledon fortnight as the Happenstance resumes its position as one of the best places in the city to watch the tennis.
As well as showing the major football games, The Happenstance will be showcasing the tennis too. So skive off work, sit in the sun sipping something cold: the English summer is back.
Where: 10 Paternoster Square, St Paul’s, EC4M 7DX
The Hawk’s Nest
The Hawk’s Nest, a railway arch and open garden behind, is ideal for enjoying the tennis.
Not only is there big-screen tennis, you can also enjoy the new signature cocktail and a pizza for £12.50, which is the perfect deal to accompany a nail biting tennis match.
Where: Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush Market, W12 8DF
It’s the latest canal-side haunt in London and yet another street food destination to add to your growing list. What’s more it’s showing the tennis!
Hackney Bridge, in Hackney (you don’t say!) is showing the tennis and football on their big screen, so pull up a bench and order some Filipino BBQ, some crumpets or Napolitan pizza.
Where: Units 1-28, Echo Building, Hackney, E15 2SJ
Cardinal Place, Victoria
Don’t make the cardinal error of not calling in at this rooftop screening.
It’s a popular annual pilgrimage to head to the grassy deckchair scattered destination that is Cardinal Place, a shopping centre just off Victoria Street, during Wimbledon fortnight.
And with good reason, there’s a huge screen, cushions and chairs and food and drink options. Get there early, though, as it fills up in the sun!
Where: Victoria Street, Victoria, SW1E 5JD
American Express Cardmember Lounge (at Wimbledon!)
Of course, perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who actually gets to go to Wimbledon! In which case you can pick up ice creams and whatnots from various kiosks about the site, but this is England and everyone wants to feel like they’ve got ‘access’ of one kind or another. And American Express cardholders really do.
The Wimbledon sponsor have designed their own cardholder lounge. The lounge will, of course, be the ideal place to watch a host of matches, but will also be ideal for relaxing or for enjoying a glass of something cold and wet. Like the exclusive Sipsmith Gin Wimbledon Southside cocktail and Lanson Gold Label Vintage. Paired with a sweet or savoury snack and you’ve the perfect Wimbledon stop off en route to Centre Court.
Where: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Church Road, Wimbledon, SW19 5AE