One of the great joys of international football tournaments is that everybody, to some extent, gets involved. Friends who would ordinarily go for a cigarette when conversation changes to football are shotgunning a seat. Partners who regularly look physically repulsed as your eyes are drawn to a green-hued screen are suddenly desperate to ‘watch the game’ together. And, touching as that all is, it just means everywhere is absolutely rammo. So here’s where you can go without a booking.
Friendship is rarely (if ever) on the cards when England play anyone - such is the team and its fans’ coveted reputation in Europe - but that won’t effect that atmosphere at the Bank of Friendship. The neighbourhood boozer on Blackstock Road is a favourite with Arsenal fans during the season and with a big, done-up garden out back, has a become go-to all year round. Screen-wise there are three decent sized TVs split between either side of the bar and it’s a good bet versus busier booked out options.
Self-described “purveyors of craic”, Skehans is something of a south London institution. The Irish boozer in Nunhead is a locals walk-in-and-say-hello favourite. Not just as a sanctum for those who have an interest in drinking professionally, but for anyone who’s looking for a complete pub experience (complete with Thai grub coming out of the kitchen). There are a few big screens either side of the bar and, for anyone not interested in the football, a mazy garden with plenty of covered space.
With screens in the garden, inside and presumably in the bogs as well, The Shacklewell Arms is well equipped to ensure that everyone has a view of the football - whether they want to watch it or not. The Dalston pub, venue, and den of iniquity is primarily reserved for walk ins and is known for being as such, so with a little pre-planning you’ll more than likely be in luck here.
Another institution, only in north London and with a never-ending MC Escher-like garden, the Faltering Fullback has always operated on a friendly, democratic (and always popular) first-come first-served policy. As is the way with all brilliant pubs, you do what they say. Inside there are plenty of screens, a projector, and a kitchen sending out does-the-job decent Thai food as well. Bear in mind that lots of other people - Finsbury Park locals and beyond - will have plans to go to The Fullback too, so you’ll want to get there at least a couple of hours before KO.
Coach & Horses
Part of the Frontier pub chain, the Coach & Horses is a Clapham pub with a perfectly pleasing setup for an evening of potentially good, bad, or downright mediocre football. The no-bookings spot has got pizza, nachos, and other gooey American-style food to keep you going and there’s a projector to keep you entertained (hopefully).