The Perfect Chelsea F.C. Match Day
For Chelsea F.C. fans, like Andrea Di Filippo, match day is an occasion that borders on a sacred experience and it has to be celebrated. Andrea’s passion for Chelsea F.C. started while he lived in Italy for 22 years. He used to watch Zola and Vialli play for the Blues. He “just fell in love with the team.” As well as being a passionate Chelsea F.C. fan, Andrea is one of the masterminds behind an influential Instagram account, @prettylittlelondon which has almost 400,000 followers and showcases the best and most exclusive spots in London. Andrea is “passionate about exploring. I felt stuck in my office job and I just went for it, I went out of my comfort zone and we’re really just trying to get people to do the same.”
We invited Andrea to #StayAllTogether at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel the game against Cardiff City and share with us his tactics to celebrate match day in West London.
Getting ready for the game is an important part of match day. If it’s a late kick-off, you have enough time to check in at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel which is just a few minutes from Stamford Bridge. Put your bags down, rejuvenate with a shower, pop Chelsea TV on and enjoy a drink from the minibar while you’re getting dressed in your suite room - that’s right, every room at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is a suite. Result. You’re now ready to head out for a bite and a drink.
Stamford Bridge, also known as “The Bridge”, is surrounded by many pubs, restaurants and cafés, so you won’t be short of things to do, but there are two places that are worth a visit.
Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill
Frankie’s raises the bar on match day food. Good pizza and beer are standard, but you can also enjoy a crayfish cocktail or a selection of Italian cured meats. It’s a great spot to watch the pre-match build-up on the TV screens while enjoying a bite to eat. Andrea advises to make a booking beforehand as the venue can produce quite the crowd. Try to leave room for dessert – you don’t want to miss out on the ice cream at your next stop around Stamford Bridge.
Zola’s Gelato Parlor
You probably know Zola was voted the greatest Chelsea F.C. player ever by Blues fans in 2003. You probably didn’t know that Zola once took a six-hour round trip, in a helicopter, for a second helping of a particular gelato he’d had in Bologna a few days earlier. Zola likes his gelato and Unico Gelato & Caffè, on Fulham Palace Road, is the latest in a line of gelato parlors owned by the Chelsea F.C. legend. Andrea personally enjoys this spot because “the ice cream is from Bologna, the coffee, also from Bologna – it’s amazing”. His go-to choice? ‘Magic Box’, a pine-nut flavored ice cream which was the Blue’s nickname for Zola during his time with Chelsea F.C.
With pre-match preparation done, you’re now ready for the game. Come On You Blues!
The Cardiff City game was a tour de force by Chelsea F.C. “When the players play at home, they play for everyone in the stands”, says Andrea who witnessed Eden Hazard score an impressive hat-trick, “Hazard is my favorite player – since the first game I saw him play, I thought, this guy is really great, he’s something special”. Chelsea F.C. went top of the league, after putting four past Cardiff City, but the questions is, can they keep the momentum going? Such post-match banter is best enjoyed with a pint at The Fox and Pheasant – a quintessentially British pub where Chelsea F.C. supporters flock to find some of their own. It’s where Chelsea F.C. fans, as Andrea firmly puts it, “stick together.”
King’s Road in Fulham is dotted with restaurants and pubs if you find The Fox and Pheasant overly crowded.
Best grab a bite to eat before retiring for the evening from The Chelsea Harbour Hotel’s restaurant. Andrea told us he struggled to choose between the lobster and steak (who wouldn’t?), but either will make for a memorable end to a great evening. Before heading out in the morning enquire about the Blue’s breakfast – an essential part of a post-match recovery.