There are few things in this world that’s more American than apple pie, rock and roll, and baseball, the biggest being the annual Independence Day celebrations that culminate in tonnes of fireworks being launched into the air for a breath-taking display. As the Fourth of July approaches, American pride is at an all-time high, but if you’re not in the motherland and instead are spending the holiday in London, you may be feeling a bit out of place. Luckily, while London may not have the same sunny weather and heat that the U.S. typically enjoys on the 4th of July, it does have its fair share of American celebration available.
Here are just some of the events that are happening all around London on the Fourth of July this year…
BARS & RESTAURANTS
Jetlag Bar (nearest Tube, Oxford Street) is putting on all day festivities to celebrate Yankee culture, starting with a marathon of classic American films at noon. Beloved films such as Blues Brothers, The Big Lebowski, and Pulp Fiction will be playing into the afternoon and the bar will be hosting an all-day BBQ on their terrace, serving up ribs, burgers, and street food like pretzels. The bar has obtained a special late license to stay open late on the Fourth and will have a selection of American craft beers available as well as live music starting at 8pm. There’s also a new pool table for a game or two.
The Blues Kitchen in Camden will be hosting their annual hot dog eating and is offering a free drink to those that can present an American passport or driver’s license. If you’re not interested in trying to scarf down over 19 hot dogs (the current record), you can sample their menu which offers Southern classics. Cajun and creole dishes like jambalaya, fried alligator, gumbo, and Southern fried chicken are all available from their main menu plus more. Add some buttered corn on the cob or sweet potatoes to your main course and you won’t feel far from home at all. Blues Kitchen will also have live music starting at 9:45pm.
Other American themed bars getting in on the annual celebrations include Smollensky’s, which is doing a deal on burgers and a pint (£9.95 for a burger, complete with the works), Henry J. Beans American themed pub in Chelsea, which boasts one of London’s largest beer gardens, and Honky Tonk another American themed bar that is also in Chelsea. You can also check out the Dime & Bar in Clapham Junction for more transatlantic dishes such as pulled pork, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and truffle macaroni and cheese, plus steaks and burgers.
5k AND 10k INDEPENDENCE DAYMARATHON
If you’re less a foodie and more a runner, then head on over to Wapping where the first Independence Day Run will be taking place at the John Orwell Sports Centre. This 5k and 10k race benefits the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which provides practical and emotional support for families of children with life threatening or terminal diseases. While entries officially closed on 27 June, there still may be possible openings subject to availability. The run begins at 7pm and there will be hot dogs, pretzels, and more available to runners and supporters after the run finishes. If interested, you can check the Rainbow Trust’s website for further details.
And over the weekend, the celebration continues…
Also happening is the American Beer Festival, hosted by The White Horse in Parsons Green from July 4-7. The pub has imported brews from Odell, Brooklyn, Flying Dog, Left Hand, Sierra Nevada, and other lesser known stateside breweries. They, too, will be hosting a BBQ and hog roast outside if the weather permits and luckily it looks sunny all weekend long! They will have live music from The Creole Brothers throughout the festival as well.
THE LAST FRANKLIN HOUSE
Over the weekend, you can also take a trip to the last remaining Franklin House in the world on Craven Street. Here Benjamin Franklin, the famed inventor, politician, and all around Renaissance man lived on the eve of the American Revolution. Following the war, his home became the first American embassy in London and it also operated as an anatomy school by the son-in-law of Franklin’s landlady, William Hewson. Today it stands as a museum and is listed as a Grade I building with many of the original 18th century features still intact.
While it’s easy to feel far from home, it’s hard to feel left out of the celebration when there’s so much going on in London in celebration of America’s independence. So take a trip out this weekend or stop in after work to sample some of the food and drink on hand.
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