Here’s where to see it potentially come home
There’s a FIFA World Cup on the horizon, but it’s not going to be like the ones you’ve experienced before.
Qatar 2022 will be the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world and only the second to be played in Asia. Taking place from 20 November to 18 December it’s also set to be the first World Cup ever not to be played in either May, June or July.
Played over a reduced timeframe of 29 days, games will kick off at 10am, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm and 7pm in the United Kingdom. If you’re a millennial, this may well bring back fond memories of watching the 2002 World Cup (held jointly by South Korea and Japan) in your school sports hall. The early morning kick-offs are phased out after the group stages, with the knockout rounds a mixture of 3pm and 7pm kick-off times.
Ecuador versus Qatar will be the opening match (Sunday 20 November, 4pm) whilst England’s opening group games are Iran (Monday 21 November, 1pm), USA (Friday 25 November, 7pm) and Wales (Tuesday 29 November, 7pm). The final will be held on Sunday December 18 at 3pm.
With regards to the vibe, it’s going to be a strange one. Will throwing beer in the air be as fun when it’s freezing cold outside? Will a lack of sunshine (this side of the TV at least) sap a bit of energy out of the whole thing? Will it be too hot over there for Southgate to wear a waistcoat? Will the tournament’s notable controversies surrounding corruption and human rights breaches rise to the fore? Serious questions to be answered.
In terms of watching the tournament, owing to it being screened on terrestrial TV (BBC and ITV), you’ll probably struggle for places that aren’t showing it. That said, football, when not enjoyed live at the ground, is best served on a large screen amongst a lively crowd. So with that in mind, here’s some inspiration as to where to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Manchester.
The Blues Kitchen
“Football with added soul” is the tagline for the World Cup at The Blues Kitchen. Everyone is giving this year’s biggest sporting event a personalised spin and BK’s comes with Southern-inspired (US, not the home counties) bar food and music long into the night. Watch our beloved lions whilst wolfing down buffalo chicken wings, cheeseburger spring rolls or Cajun popcorn squid, with big sharers also available. All England games will be screened and the in-house band will be playing “Sweet Caroline with a Blues Kitchen twist.” Tickets are per £5.
13 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HN
You can always count on Brotherhood when it comes to watching sport on TV. Plenty of screens upstairs, plenty of room and screens downstairs for larger groups. If you’ve got a football-minded office, it’s probably a good shout for an office Christmas party with food and drink packages now available to book - two birds, one stone. Brotherhood is definitely one to consider for those 1pm and 3pm kick-offs too, especially with a burger and pint lunch deal (£8.50) that runs until 5pm.
2 Mount St, Manchester M2 5WQ
Not feeling very footbally? Not quite into the football spirit? Get yourself over to Calcio and mainline the beautiful game. Taking up the old Herd NQ site, Calcio is a retro football-themed bar clad in memorabilia and showing every game of this year’s tournament. Plenty of Madri, retro video games and burgers courtesy of Foodhall regulars What’s Your Beef? Good for walk-ins.
24 Dale St, Manchester M1 1FY
In the run-up to Keisha Thompson’s 14% show, Contact theatre are putting on bookable, free, friendly and relaxed screenings of the final two England group matches. The screenings will feature panel discussions, interactive games and live DJs, with the likes of Keisha Thompson and Reece Williams discussing the topics and politics surrounding the beautiful game. A good place to critically explore the issues behind the tournament in a safe and friendly environment.
Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6JA
If you like your atmosphere raucous and you’re not allergic to students, Courtyard is always a good spot for watching footy on the big screen. Cheap drinks, big personality. The World Cup will be no different. A 250+ capacity beer garden, outdoor heating and cocktail bar (ideal in the winter), plenty of massive screens and there’s always the potential for a barbecue. If anywhere is going to keep to outdoor lager flinging traditions, rain or shine, it’s Courtyard. Get there early on a match day, there tends to be a queue.
2 Chester St, Manchester M1 5SH
The Director’s Box
Another one worth booking ahead, The Director’s Box has already opened its December food and drink packages up for bookings. You can bet there’ll be football too. Plenty of screens spread around the place ensuring a great view of the match wherever you’re sat. There’s plenty of food and drink offers to get stuck into too, be it burger, fries and a drink for £11.50 or pizza and a drink for £12. Plenty of booze deals for celebrating or washing away sorrows, come what may.
37 Booth St, Manchester M2 4AA
Dive Bar & Grill
The only acceptable dive for this year’s tournament. Watch the World Cup on one of twenty Ultra HD 4K big screens as well as a projector screen on the terrace. Tables, group bookings and private hire all available with drinks offers on until 10pm Monday to Friday and plenty of food options. An all-weather terrace means you can still get the summer World Cup beer garden feels without freezing anything off.
12 Tib St, Manchester M4 1SH
Escape to Freight Island
Have you ever heard the song Carnaval de Paris by Dario G? Get it up on Youtube, you’ll recognise it. Anyway, if Escape to Freight Island’s football offering for the World Cup was a song, it’d be that. Real balls to the wall festival vibes. Not one but three fan zones (big fan zone, dedicated pub zone and family fun zone), loads of Camden Town Brewery beers and entertainment surrounding and midway through the match. Everything from special guests to brass bands. Tickets are free and available to book now.
11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ
4 The Fans
If you like your World Cup with a sprinkling of Joleon Lescott and Wes Brown, get yourself booked in for the For The Fans fan park in Trafford. It sold out for the Euros and it’s more than likely it’ll be equally popular this time round. Promising “huge screens, world class sound, DJs and special effects”, there’s plenty of ticket options from standard general admission to VIP areas. If you want to be pictured on TV news amid a mist of lager, this is probably the one.
Soccer Dome, Trafford Way, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8DD
They pride themselves on being one of the friendliest places to watch sport, do GRUB. So if you’re after somewhere a bit less raucous but no less fun, head over to Red Bank. GRUB’s trademark array of streetfood stands and locally-sourced booze make for the perfect pairing with the beautiful game. There’s plenty of places inside to watch too. Chapeltown Picture House’s 100 seater cinema, The Hall for groups of 5-10 for a more relaxed watch and the basement bar for groups of 4 or below, with over 20 beer lines on. Beer so good you wouldn’t dare throw it.
50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF
Good news music fans, Jimmy’s is showing the England games upstairs in both its Manchester and Liverpool venues on a 9 x 12ft projector. The subsequent screen will be nine inches taller than the world’s current tallest man (Sultan Kösen, 8 ft 3), how’s that for size? Limited tickets are now available to book online with a free pint for each of your party upon arrival with every table ticket purchased. England games only. Let’s hope for a good run to the final.
27 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AJ
Not many things are for certain in this life. But one thing we can guarantee is that watching football at Libero in Altrincham is always going to be inclusive, good fun and awash with decent beers. The World Cup will be no different. Libero has teased a King’s Court accumulator of a marquee, collaborative events with fellow tenants (think Batch, My Name Is Sanchez) and some special beers on offer. Worth keeping an eye out for the posters too. You didn’t think those bloody woke football fans were going to do the tournament without having a say, did you?
2A, Kings Court, Railway St, Altrincham WA14 2RE
The Love Factory
One to be filed under Boxpark-style warehouse watching. Newly opened The Love Factory will be hosting experiential screenings of the World Cup with a host of hospitality and booking options including groups, private suites and ‘singing terraces.’ Add to the mix Talksport guest commentary, a special Classic Football Shirts exhibition, interactive events and an Ate Days A Week special rotating pie menu. Fish Heads fish and chips and Cheeky Deano’s complete the footy scrans line-up.
202 Dantzic St, Manchester M4 4NL
A new and colourful spin on watching the football under the lights. New Century is screening all of the Ingerland games in its iconic 60s dancehall underneath those trademark lights. Five of your finest British pounds gets you a seat and a free pint. Surround sound will make it feel like you’re there and more details for games will be announced as the tournament progresses. New Century’s food selection downstairs also good for celebrating the fruits of a potential Maguire redemption arc.
34 Hanover St, Manchester M4 4AH
It’s time to put the guns down and leave the shooting to the lads on the screen. Point Blank is utilising its big old 132 inch screens for the football giving you the chance to watch our boys kicking it in the goal hole in subterranean comfort. The £8 lunch club deal will appeal to those who want to catch the midday kick-offs (12-4pm) and special food and drinks packages for groups of over eight will certainly suffice for Christmas parties.
Basement, 78, Deansgate, Manchester M3 2FW
The Pen and Pencil
You might think that when Pen & Pencil say they’re showing every game that they mean every England game. No, dear reader and football fan. When The Pen & Pencil says it is showing every game it means it will be showing every single game of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. No easy feat considering the timings of games but what a journey that could be. Brunch, lunch and dinner, football with every meal. 50% off on Mondays with a booking. You know the deal by now.
Fourways House, 57 Hilton St, Manchester M1 2EJ
Follow Davey on Twitter and Instagram: @dbretteats
Image: 4 The Fans
Road to Victory
It’s kind of hard to put Road to Victory into words. But here we go. Road To Victory is a bit like Bongo’s Bingo and Secret Cinema having a football baby. Immersive, loud, flashing (lights) and interactive. Some people will hate it (your da) and others will have the absolute time of their lives. Europe’s biggest fanpark (6000 seats), Europe’s biggest screen, food, booze, visuals, WHP levels of sound design, interactive on-screen gaming and heartbeat noises when someone takes a penalty. Best of all? You’re allowed to throw your pint in the way. Back of the net!
1 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PY
So, you’ve said you’re boycotting it but England have done surprisingly well in the first game and you and your squad have suddenly got a thirst for it. Society could be a good shout. Room for 350 seated and 700 standing with free bookings and plenty of food and drink. Massive screens have been installed for the games and tables have been left for walk-ins. QR code ordering at the table means you don’t even have to get up for your pint.
100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester M2 3BD
Another solid walk-ins spot for watching all of the games. Beer so good there’s absolutely no chance of anyone spilling a drop, let alone throwing it in the air in a performative yearning for summer. England games will be shown with the commentary on, others screened unassumingly in the background. Sonoma on cask as is tradition. RISE will also be on hand for select times dishing out their moreish cheese-dusted pizzas. Back of the net.
Unit 18, Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP
Read next: 'The most superb piece of beef I have ever tasted' - The Forge, Chester, reviewed
Read again: An insider's guide to eating and drinking in Prestwich
Don't miss out
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email.