Where to Watch the Boat Race and Get Drunk After
The Tab’s pick of spots from which to catch the boat race action.
The big day is fast approaching and with only a little over fifteen minutes in which to catch the action choosing the best spot is crucial. Here is The Tab's pick of the riverside venues…
Where to feel part of it all… Cosied right up the finishing line, The Ship in Mortlake, isn't for the faint hearted but if a battle to the bar is a suitable vent for the competitive spirit you really will be at the heart of the action. Rowing attracts a higher calibre of crowd than a football game (possibly because 99% of the people who give a toss about this are Oxbridge-educated or employed by the BBC to give a toss); thus you are less likely to find yourself unfortunately placed in the cross-fire of a stand-off between thugs, vying against each other for primacy at the bar using bottles and glasses as you might down your local during any given Premiership match.
The Dove in Hammersmith is a proper English 17th century pub with wooden beams, an open fire and a view of the Thames both east and west. One blogger said, 'I felt like I was in Wind and the Willows rather than Central London' as he tucked into hearty food for hearty prices but know you are living the high life.
Where to count your pennies… A hot sandwich for a fiver and a main for a tenner is good value for a riverside spot in the Big Smoke, and the bars and pubs all up the river will be heaving. You can get a free drink at Young's pubs if you fill out the online form, which will ease the financial damage a little. The Duke's Head looks over the river at the start of the course in a location surrounded by pubs and is putting on a BBQ and Live Music for the big day. Alternatively, The Boathouse is further down the course.
Where to go if the weather holds… Bishop's Park, Fulham or Furnival Gardens in Hammersmith both have big screens so you not only watch the whole race from start to finish – incidentally, also possible from the unsociable location of your sofa – but you can bring your own booze and nibbles. Also, there is promise of beer tents, which will – as their title would imply – be selling their own booze (beer) and, admittedly not implied but expected, nibbles.
Where to stay dry… Your sofa. Live coverage begins at 3.10pm on BBC One. The official website anticipates 'It will be a gusty wind and there is the chance of showers. Not only does this make it difficult to row against, but with the wind opposing the direction of the tide the water will become choppy.' The Met Office report is bleak. Choppy water is certainly not Pimms O'Clock so if you want to stay dry why bother getting out bed. You don't bother getting up at 5am to try your hand at rowing. Why leave the house in torrential conditions to watch others do so.
Where to shmooze boaties…
Cirque de Soir Exclusive Members Club, 12 New Burlington Street in Central London have rife opportunities for blue-tack and no imagination required: this event has been organised for you, all you need to do is attach yourself to a crowd headed in this direction. However, whatever drinks deal claim, £4 for a bottle of beer is not an ‘awesome deal on drink’; nor is £20 for a bottle of wine. London has Spoons just like the rest of the UK. London has off-licences and parks just like the rest of the UK.
Where not to be seen… Rumi, 531 Kings Road, and why? Because it's the official Oxford After Party and however nostalgic you feel about the KR and Crazy Larry's such blasphemous attendance deserves excommunication.
If you've got any suggestions as to where you'll be boozing, spectating or sheltering from the elements, do suggest below…