Sometimes in the UK, particularly in sports bars and pubs, it can be difficult to persuade the bar managers to switch the channel over from football to the cricket - but there is one place where you’ll get nothing but cricket from start to finish…
With two locations in London and two more coming soon in Manchester and Oxford, Sixes Cricket Club is the definitive answer to the gap in the market - the cricket pub.
Outside its flagship venue, on Great Portland Street, you can tell instantly by the Flicx wicket and stumps outside that you’re closing in on a venue for cricket lovers.
The Fitzrovia hub only opened last month and the décor harbours a number of cricketing relics - from a painting of Sachin Tendulkar to a signed portrait of the 2009 Ashes winning side. It’s a real cricket-lovers' venue and it’s already been visited by cricketing royalty in Ian Bell and Monty Panesar - amongst a number of other current and ex pros to have graced the game.
One of the great attractions to the venue have to be the indoor nets.
In a ten-pin bowling style set up you can face off against your friends in an over of varying levels of difficulty against the bowling machine. My hat goes off to anyone good enough to take on the advanced level spin (I spotted an unnamed recent ex-pro yorked on the club level setting a few weeks back…)
This is a place as much for the pros as it is for the village cricketer and everyone inbetween.
Beyond the cricket there lies, at its heart, a cracking pub. A good mix of local beers and staple favourites, incredible food (I’d recommend the crispy fried cauliflower as a real hidden gem) and friendly bar staff. The venue in Fulham even has a converted Land Rover for some extra room!
For somewhere that is so new it really has a friendly and warm culture to it which is certainly rare to find in London.
The atmosphere that Sixes has cultivated means it's not just for cricket lovers either.
A couple of weeks ago I popped into Sixes in Fulham with a friend and we got chatting to an American and Dutch couple who lived nearby. Without a clue about cricket, despite my slightly inebriated explanation of the sport, the couple had picked out Sixes as just a nice looking pub nearby. Unfortunately they were sat next to me as I talked them through Ben Stokes’ 135* and the context behind it so probably left less enthused.
Sixes has also earmarked itself as a great venue for a kids day out, with the nets opening up, as lockdown eased, initially only for children of all ages to practice.
With opportunities for junior sport, not only cricket, so limited in the last year - these nets were no doubt a great escape from the past year and a great help for parents looking for something different for the kids to do!
There is no longer any need to convert a pub into a makeshift cricket venue - Sixes has it covered and with Fitzrovia and Fulham no more than a ten minute tube from Lord's and the Oval respectively you can be sure they’ll be very popular after a day’s play!