On the eve of England’s big kick-off, Tony Dawber cruises the boulevards, strips and malls of Hollywood and Santa Monica in search of LA’s most footy-friendly taverns.
Ever since the tragic closure of venerable Morrissey haunt the Cat & Fiddle on Sunset Boulevard, expat Brits in Tinseltown and local soccer nuts have been bereft of a focal drinking hole to catch those breakfast-time kick-offs beamed live from London, Liverpool and Manchester. From Universal Studios to Santa Monica Pier, here we pick seven of LA’s best bars for TV sports.
This large, modern bar on celebrated Hollywood Boulevard lies five-to-ten minutes’ walk east of LA’s sightseeing epicentre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and so on. Thirty-three beers – in celebration of the end of Prohibition in 1933 – ensure a friendly atmosphere though daytimes see 33 Taps inevitably flooded by tourists. The building was formerly Dillon’s Irish Pub, whose owners have now moved to a new venue several miles east.
6263 Hollywood Blvd, www.33taps.com
Casey’s Irish Pub
Right in the heart of Downtown LA, a larger daytime clientele gathers in this large cellar bar in a former Turkish bathhouse dating back to 1916. A massive range of whiskies complements a long selection of classic bar food and snacks – there’s plenty of room to play pool, darts and table tennis once the match action’s over.
613 South Grand Avenue, 213dthospitality.com/project/caseys-irish-pub
Calling itself ‘The best British pub in Santa Monica’, though the red phone box outside looks more convincing than the strange drawing of John Lennon on its homepage, this traditional-looking boozer was the first bar in the States to show live English soccer, way back in 1990. Past regulars include Richard Branson (Crystal Palace) and John Lydon (Arsenal) – it packs for big footy games. A full complement of Premier League games is offered (Middlesbrough-Stoke at 7am, anyone?) on numerous TVs, along with full monty breakfasts, pots of tea and lashings of beer. Another plus point is the location, in a slightly run-down area set back from coast between swisher, celebrity-studded Santa Monica and glittery Marina del Rey.
2947 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, www.cocknbullbritishpub.com
Fox & Hounds
This mock of a traditional British pub opens early on Premier League Saturdays to please a convivial crowd of expat and local regulars – it’s a 4.30am start for Hull v Leicester this weekend, for example. They screen Championship games, too, plus all MLS. A huge range of draught options includes Allagash White wheat beer from Maine, Firestone 805 and Hop Notch IPA brewed, in all places, Salt Lake City. Pub meals are served with garden or mushy peas and burgers are named after the Premier League, Division One, and so on (is the Scottish Premier League really a turkey?). The F&H lies on shady corner in Studio City well north of Hollywood and Beverly Hills but close to the attraction of Universal Studios.
11100 Ventura Blvd, www.thefoxandhounds.com
Goal Sports Café
Flavour of the month in terms of LA sports bars, Goal has been designed with comfort in mind, facing rows of flat-screen TVs perched over leather-upholstered booths. It may look modest from outside but Goal stretches way back. MLS themes creep into the decor but US sports aren’t ignored, despite the bar name. The menu is somewhat more imaginative than the standard provision of wings and fries – think ceviche, crab cake sliders and Caribbean marinated grilled shrimp. Set in an eclectic area south of Hollywood.
8334 W 3rd Street, goalsportscafe.com
‘Redefining the sports bar’, chic, contemporary and somewhat quirky with it, The Parlor is easily the most style-focused of our sports bar selection, matching its West Hollywood location. Dozens of television screens are spread throughout a sizeable bar area – there’s a shaded patio and, as its name suggests, a parlor. draught beers are dispensed by the glass ($7) and pitcher ($20) but more than anywhere, this is the place to sink a cocktail or two: a Parlor Derby of Pyrat rum and Aperol or a Seventh Inning Stretch with Plymouth gin as its base. Salads involve ginger peach vinaigrette, fried goats’ cheese and dried cranberries, it’s that kind of place.
7250 Melrose Ave, theparlorca.com
Ye Olde King’s Head
Opened in 1974, patronised by many a UK celeb whose photos festoon the walls of a traditional pub interior, this cosy sports bar is known for its fish ‘n’ chips, offering roast beer and Yorkshire pudding of a Sunday. Bass, Boddingtons, Newcastle Brown and Fuller’s London Pride are among the draught options (there’s also snakebite for those in a hurry), with early opening hours for Premier League games. The restaurant and ‘shoppe’ (do people really buy tins of Roses chocolates, even at Christmas?) feel like tourist central – you’re only yards from Santa Monica Beach and Pier.
116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, yeoldekingshead.com