Tab Guide To: Watching the Boat Race (And Getting Drunk After)

The Tab’s guide to the 2013 Boat Race, with details on the CUBC Official After Party and where to bag a boatie.

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Yes, it’s another article about rowing!

But don’t despair – the race is only a few short days away, and then it’ll be back to articles about BNOCs and/or spending extended periods of time in a library.

In the meantime, here’s our Tab guide to the 2013 Boat Race, specially put together to help you enjoy the big day.

Where to go to feel part of it?

Of course, you must start to be able to finish – so we recommend getting on down to the start or finishing line to soak up some of the pre-race tension. The race is a little over 15 minutes long, so getting a good vantage point is paramount. Putney Bridge is a good place to begin, but is also likely to be crowded – so get there as early as possible. If you prefer to watch with a drink in your hand, the nearby The Star and Garter or the Thai Square Bar and Restaurant offer excellent vantage points. They will also have it televised, and have promised live music and an outdoor BBQ set up in advance. For the finish, the Ship in Mortlake will be comprised 100% of boat race enthusiasts. Be prepared for a battle to the bar that will require skills more akin to Rugby than Rowing.

The view from Putney Bridge is a fine one – if you can get a spot

Iconic Boat Race boozers?

Party like it’s 1829 at The Dove in Hammersmith: a proper 17th century English pub with wooden beams, an open fire and a view of the Thames both East and West. One blogger described the experience thus: “I felt like I was in Wind and the Willows rather than Central London.” Tally ho.


The Blue Anchor is probably the favourite boat race drinking venue for the MiIddlesex side of the river. It offers all the fayre a punter could want. Plus, trivia fans, Gustav Holst lived there in the early 1900s when he composed his “Hammersmith Suite”. Something else for you to chat about, you boring, smelly rowers.

If the weather stays reasonable?

If it turns into a beautiful day, Bishop’s Park in Fulham or Furnivall Gardens in Hammersmith both have big screens televising the event  – not only can you watch the whole race from start to finish you can also bring your own booze and nibbles. Expect beer tents (or like we said, bring your own), food out of trucks and lots and lots of shouting from both sides.

Where to stay warm?

At home. You’ve never once had the urge to get up at 5am and try your hand at rowing, so why leave the house – let’s face it, most likely in freezing conditions – to watch others do it? Live coverage begins at 3.15pm on BBC One with the delightful, omnipresent Claire Balding. Of course, staying at home is entirely against the spirit of the day and will no doubt result in pangs of deep regret as Cambridge storm to another glorious victory.

The Met Office website anticipates that the weather should be looking up: “There will be little or no gusty wind, there is currently no chance of rain and a top temperature of 6 degrees.” Which, in comparison to the last few days, is balmy indeed!

Finishing the Night – No. 3 Nightclub in South Kensington

Although it often goes unadvertised, CUBC throw a post-race party for the Cambridge and Goldie Crews, students and alumni every year. This year it will be held at NO.3, one of London’s hottest new clubs and situated bang opposite the iconic Natural History Museum at No.3 Cromwell road, South Kensington.

This party is for YOU. Click here to go to the Facebook event, find out all the info you need and add yourself to the events page to make sure you appear on the guestlist that evening. CUBC have kindly booked out the entire venue, making it entirely ours. The night will be rife with opportunities to rub shoulders with Olympians, and might be your one and only chance to bag/console a blue.

Those who make it down between 9 and 10.30pm are promised discounted entry, special drinks offers and “welcome shots”. See you there.