This is it. The crunch. Win or lose. Do or die – ok that’s pushing it a little but you get the picture. England have to turn over the Australians, number 3 in the world and one of our fiercest sporting rivals on Saturday. Win and it is a soft ticket against Uruguay and everything to play for. Lose and England go out. We will be bottom of the world. At Twickenham. In OUR world cup. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Will Sam Burgess come off the bench and save us? Will Stuart Lancaster make crazy substitutions and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Have the England selectors seen sense and called for Ronnie Pickering?
Luckily all that is for the coach and players to work out. All we have to do is watch, drink beer and cheer for England – or for Australia if you are part of Brighton’s Green and Gold Legion or Welsh. Where though is best to do this in Brighton? We at BJournal have done your work for you and picked the top five sports bars and venues that we love to watch the Rugby in. Also – but far less importantly – the footie, cricket and other so-called sporting events.
- The King and Queen: 13-17 Marlborough Place Brighton. The King and Queen is a massive old mock-Tudor place that looks like a medieval banqueting hall. There are screens a-plenty, as well as plenty of floor space, balconies and alcoves. Watching the rugby should be pretty easy as the screens are very large and you will be hard pressed to miss anything. The venue is ragged, the bar staff hard pressed albeit with a good range of ales, but with a large crowd of cheerful inebriates the atmosphere should be second to none. We have a range of quibbles, but the most pressing is this: what kind of warped intelligence would buy this beautiful Tudor-ish monstrosity, then be so lacking in imagination that all they could think was ‘sports bar’?
- The Font: Union Street, South Lanes. The Font is a little like The King and Queen. This one used to be a seventeenth century church, hence the name. Again you think – why a sports bar? Still, in terms of watching rugby the venue has one massive screen (which they promise will be in action for Saturday) and a number of smaller ones. Although primarily a football place, for a major game like this it should with heaving with white, green and gold. Beer is cheap. Like most football pubs it attracts a particular crowd, but we are there for the sport, right?
- The Lord Nelson: 36 Trafalgar Street, Brighton. What better place to prepare for England’s inevitable victory than in the Lord Nelson on Trafalgar Street? Actually this may not be the best choice in terms of an actual view. While the screen is pretty big the Lord Nelson itself is not huge. However it might be a very good choice in terms of atmosphere. The place is friendly, much loved by a loyal clientele, and serves Harvey’s, our local brew, on tap. With a lot of locals and the right result, watching the game in The Lord Nelson could be a memorable night.
- The Albion: 110 Church Road, Brighton. Alright, The Albion is generally regarded as a bit of an old man’s pub, but it could still be a good place to watch the rugby. It has not one but two (count ‘em!) giant screens for the big game as well as a lot of other smaller screens for other sports fans. More importantly, and unlike the other venues on the list this is a proper rugby venue. The pub sponsors the local rugby team and counts players amongst its regulars. If you want to you want to watch the game with an informed crowd, you probably can’t do better than The Albion.
- The American Express Community Stadium: In case you didn’t know we have a genuine World Cup venue right here in (well, a little out of) Brighton. It has already been home to one of the greatest Rugby World Cup matches of all time when lowly Japan overcame the mighty Bokkie of South Africa 32-34 in a pulsating encounter earlier in the competition. The stadium is brand new and as the Japan match showed, can generate an incredible atmosphere. Unfortunately you won’t see any Rugby action there. The last match was on 20th If you fancy seeing Brighton & Hove take on Cardiff instead the next game is 3rd October.
- On your sofa at home: There are just so many advantages to the sofa venue. You are guaranteed a good view and a seat. You won’t miss crucial action while marooned at the bar. You can serve your own beer (we recommend Wells Bombardier at £1:79 from Tesco). In the event of a mishap you will not have to endure the taunts of stray Australians. You can feign knowledge by repeating the wisdom of Jonny Wilkinson (steady ladies) and Lawrence Dallaglio. It is just a short, tearful climb to your bed. It costs nothing because ITV have the rights to the world cup….. but if the right side wins wouldn’t it be SO much better to share the victory with a horde of white-clad compatriots?