Collecting blisters on London streets or getting a round of rosé in? We know what we'd choose...
If there's one thing more painful than running the London Marathon, it's watching it. Once you've whooped your heart out in the direction of a loved one, you're left with 26 miles of strangers, huffing and puffing and tossing empty water cups in your direction.
Know what you need? A pint, a sit-down and a place to set up camp with some grub while you wait for your marathon champ to limp to the finish line. Here are all the great pubs, bars and restaurants to show your 'support' from.
The start: Zerodegrees Micro Brewery, Blackheath
OK, so this one doesn’t open until noon, so the plan is: get very excited at the sound of the starting pistol, cheer on the runners and do some high-fives, then head to the pub. The choice of beers is a satisfying deviation in taste from your traditional bitters and they slip down rather well with a wood-fired pizza.
7-mile mark: The Mitre, Greenwich
This is the place for a full-on roast: free-range Cherry Orchard pork loin with crackling, half a roast Shropshire chicken with Cumberland and gingerbread stuffing and 21-day-aged British Isles sirloin beef. Well, you did get up early and shouting words of encouragement can leave you feeling pretty jaded.
13-mile mark: Lahore Kebab House, Whitechapel
This kebab house might not look like much, and you wouldn’t go here for a posh dinner, but the no-fuss food is perfect for a pit stop. Think big portions of Punjabi-style tandoori dishes, grilled meats, buttery naans and spicy curries at very reasonable prices.
15-mile mark: The Narrow, Limehouse
Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and terrace is nestled directly on the main marathon route so booking is a must – as is the beer-battered, line-caught haddock with chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. If the millions of runners passing you by gets a bit much, just focus on the gorgeous view of the Thames. You're basically dining on it here.
25-mile mark: Gordon's Wine Bar, Embankment
A good one for late risers. This is the final stretch, so pull up a seat at an outside table in the alleyway next to the busy wine caves (literally, this place is full of ancient underground arches). One of the oldest drinking haunts in the capital, the wine list is extensive and the ports, sherries and Madeiras go well with the unfussy buffet-style food – think cheeseboards and pork pies. Very suitable for a day at the marathon.
Finishing line: Inn The Park, St James's Park
If you’re waiting to congratulate your running friends, duck away from the crowds and retreat to Inn The Park, nestled among the trees and ponds of St James's. The wooden café and restaurant has a pretty waterside terrace where you can relax with a glass of wine and toast those stumbling over the finishing line.
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