he Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games officially kicks off tomorrow and, while the time difference means it will be a slightly strange viewing experience for those of us supporting Team GB (most of the action will be taking place between 3am and 12pm UK time), that hasn’t stopped the capital’s top hospitality venues providing myriad ways to celebrate the (hopeful) successes of our top athletes.
From public screenings for early birds to sport-themed staycations and art exhibitions, here’s how to get into the spirit of Tokyo 2020 in London.
Summer Screen at International Quarter, Stratford
Where better to experience the high and lows of Team GB’s exertions than in the home of the London 2012 Olympics? As part of Stratford’s ongoing redevelopment into a hub of sport and culture, International Quarter London (situated between Westfield and the Olympic Park) will be hosting live screenings of much of the Olympic action as part of its Summer Screen outdoor cinema series. As well as showing the event live, Olympic-themed films, including Cool Runnings and Chariots of Fire, are also on the bill, alongside sporting activities including weekly Yoga on the Big Screen sessions. The best part? It’s all completely free.
Tokyo 1964: Designing Tomorrow at Japan House, Kensington
A strong visual identity has always been integral to a successful Olympic hosting bid and, when Tokyo first held the Olympics in 1964, it proved itself a pioneer in the sort of design that could transcend language barriers and cultural differences. Opening on 5 August, a new exhibition at Japan House will celebrate this artistic legacy. Presenting artefacts and stories never before seen in the UK, Tokyo 1964: Designing Tomorrow will explore how, as Japan’s first large-scale event after the Second World War, the Olympics represented a chance for Japan to tell a new story about itself, using design to showcase a modern, high-tech nation to a world who would be watching on colour TV for the first time.
Tokyo Nights at The Ivy Asia, St Paul’s
Looking to carry on your Olympic celebrations after dark? The Ivy Asia’s St Paul’s outpost has teamed up with Suntory to create a series of Tokyo-inspired events promising to immerse you in the distinctive culture of the Japanese capital. Taking place from 23 July to 8 August, each evening will see guests greeted by Samurai doormen before being shown to a futuristic, neon light-strewn dining and drinking space. Throughout the evening, Japanese performers will showcase a range of the country’s traditional athletic arts, before DJs accompanied by live percussionists encourage revellers to take to the floor. There will also be a range of limited-edition cocktails evoking the flavours of Japanese cuisine, including the intriguing Neon Butterfly, a blend of Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky, Xante Pear Cognac, Akashi-Tai Umeshu Plum Sake, peach bitters, raspberry and butterfly pea extract.
Solar Pergola, White City
West Londoners aren’t being left out of the big screen Olympic fun thanks to Solar Pergola, a new outdoor venue at Television Centre in White City. After a successful Wimbledon run, the al fresco terrace will be turning its attention to more international sporting matters, showing all the latest from the Olympics every day. From Thursday to Sunday there will also be a pop-up bar and BBQ from the team behind Pantechnicon, serving dry-aged Dexter beef burgers and vegan treats, alongside summery spritzes and an extensive wine list, while takeaway food from nearby restaurants Kricket, Patty & Bun and Bluebird is also available.
The Stratford at Manhattan Loft Gardens, Stratford
If the 2020 Games has your family keen to try out some of the events for themselves, there are few better staycation spots than The Stratford hotel, based as it is in the former London Olympics athletes' village. Having opened within the Manhattan Loft Gardens complex in 2018, this will be the hotel’s first Olympics and, to celebrate, it’s offering a special family package to help you make the most of its proximity to the London Aquatics Centre, Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark and London Stadium, which all played a key part in the 2012 games. Priced at £240 per night, the package includes an overnight stay for four in a family room, as well as breakfast, in-room children’s movies and popcorn, plus wine and mocktails in the evening.
Summer Screens at Canary Wharf
Having been in situ since the start of July and staying in place until 24 September, Canary Wharf is the place to go to catch all of this summer's biggest and best sporting action on the big screen. If you're keen not to miss a moment, you'll be pleased to know there are not one, but two, giant screens in Canada Square Park, which will be showing a mixture of Olympics events, cricket and Rugby Union. All events are free, no tickets are necessary and picnics are welcome – plus with Canada Square's Grandstand bar mere feet away you'll never be far from refreshment.
Bluebird x Lillet Summer Terrace, Chelsea
Chelsea all-day dining favourite Bluebird is teaming up with French aperitif brand Lillet on a summer terrace that promises to put a French twist on the quintessentially British space. Centred around a big screen that will be showing all the major Olympics events, plus much of summer's remaining sporting action, settle in to sample the limited edition spritz menu and seasonal food offering. We highly recommend pairing the lobster spaghetti with Datterini tomatoes, chilli, parsley and garlic with Lillet Flower Spritz - Lillet Blanc, elderflower tonic, lime and mint.