I spent the afternoon kicked back in a very cushy (and ultra white) Chesterfield, having a few crisp beers and watching the Olympics on some massive TV screens as the guest of Tsingtao beer at House of Nations.
House of Nations is a pop up concept for catching the London 2012 event in a comfortable setting. There are two HON venues: one at the Tower of London (actually located within the moat!) and another at King’s Cross.
I was at the Tower of London venue and thought it was indeed a great place to watch some sport. Open from 11am to 11pm, it’s a family friendly environment with lots of free games and activities as well as indoor and outdoor seating. But if you’re seeking more grown up atmo, just go sit at the bar or stake out one of those Chesterfields for yourself and your friends. The place can be as swish or as laid back as you’d like.
There are a range of ticket options, and booking ahead is probably advisable. But walk up general admission tix start at £10 per person. If you’re visiting the Tower (and you definitely should if this is your big, once in a lifetime London vacation), using HON as a base is a smart idea, especially if you’re in a small group or with kids.
The King’s Cross HON is a bit more night clubby and stays open to 3am.
Both House of Nations venues have a Tsingtao Table Tennis Zone where visitors will be able to try their hand at ping pong on the professional standard Tsingtao Beer tables. At Tower of London guests can “Challenge the Dragon” as they compete against a huge robotic “dragon” firing table tennis balls at them.
Apparently after the Olympics, the Dragon table will tour a few pubs in the UK.