Top five places to watch Wimbledon (other than Wimbledon)

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For two weeks a year, Wimbledon is a dangerous place. Just imagine the horror of finding yourself trapped on Murray Mount while Sue Barker and John Inverdale work the crowd into a frenzied high-pitched chorus of ‘Andy’ and you’ll no doubt get the idea. Maybe it’s best to steer clear of SW19 altogether and keep your eye on the action at one of these five alternatives:

1 Swallow Street 
Swallow Street in W1 is home to two of Esquire’s favourite restaurants (and not just because they’re spitting distance from the office) - Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Gaucho (the superb Argentinean steakhouse). Excellent surf/turf aside, another reason to visit is for Wimbledon action: the street has been transformed into a tennis court, with two giant screens to watch the matches, while British themed fare is served up. Games are streamed from midday until the last ball is returned. 25 Swallow Street, London W1B (www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk; www.bentleys.org)

2 Bluebird
Billed as “the next best place to Centre Court”, Bluebird makes a feature of Wimbledon every year. With food and drink dedicated to all things English, the restaurant’s forecourt is an excellent location to watch all the action from SW19. And, if you manage to get hold of tickets (or decide to head off for returns), Bluebird is selling hampers to take away. 350 King's Road, London SW3 (www.wimbledonatbluebird.com)

3 The Crescent
Pimm’s and tennis themed cocktails are the order of the day at this newly opened champagne bar in Kensington. (Try the 40 Love: 40 Love Pimms No , Zubrowka vodka, lime juice, passion fruit, sugar and mint to garnish.) The Crescent has splashed out on huge plasma screens to enjoy all the action, plus free wi-fi means no one need ever know that we’re not in the office… 3 North End Crescent, London, W14  (www.thecrescentbarw14.co.uk

4 Hampstead & Belsize park 
The Everyman cinemas in Hampstead and Belsize are screening the 2009 championships. Not only will there be free Pimms for anyone who turns up to watch the men’s final in tennis white, but you can get your own game up to speed with With Wii tennis (www.everymancinema.com).

5 At home 
And if you’re trying to recreate the 'magic' at home (punnet of strawberries in one hand, drink in the other) then a bottle of Lanson will add a drop of authenticity to proceedings (it’s the official sponsor). Plus it comes with a Wimbledon-coloured jacket (which will keep the bottle cool, however long Centre Court action lasts). Our tasting notes? Think straw, toast with flavours of white summer fruits. Perfect. £28 at Tesco