You’re guaranteed good craic at one of London’s best Irish pubs.
St Patrick’s Day 2019 (Sunday, March 17) is set to be a barnstormer of a day, and you’re rather spoiled for choice. First of all, there’s the small matter of Ireland’s rugby team mounting an outside challenge for the Six Nations title. Or, you could join the official celebrations, and partake in a full weekend of events including a huge parade and a party in Trafalgar Square on Sunday. But for our money, the best way to celebrate the Emerald Isle is to don the green and gold and hole up in one of the city’s best Irish pubs for a seisiún quite unlike any other.
1. The Auld Shillelagh, Stoke Newington
You want authentic Irish pubs? You got ’em. The Auld Shillelagh was bestowed with the title of ‘most authentic Irish pub in the world outside of Ireland’ by The Irish Times, which is a pretty good starting point. One of the best reasons to visit Stoke Newington, the tiny-looking pub is deceptively spacious, and it fills to the brim on St Patrick’s Day, with traditional Irish music, plenty of drinks, and an army of balloons. The Auld Shillelagh’s motto is “off the leash and on the lash”, so you know you’re in for a big one here.
105 Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0UD. Nearest station is Stoke Newington.
2. The Cow, Notting Hill
Those hoping for something a little more gastro than pub should head west. The Cow, out in Notting Hill, may not be super authentic, but it’s a lovely little spot that serves food with distinct Irish influences. Dishes like Irish stew and champ, or seafood platters from the Irish sea (including their speciality, a pint of prawns), make this a fabulously foodie spot in which to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
89 Westbourne Park Road, W2 5QH. Nearest stations are Westbourne Park and Royal Oak.
3. The Porterhouse, Covent Garden
Of all the Irish pubs in London, this place is the biggest. In fact, it’s one of the biggest pubs in London, full stop. The Porterhouse is a behemoth bar, sprawling across no fewer than twelve different levels and a basement bar. Occupying a prime spot in Covent Garden, they are justifiably proud of their huge range of beers, ales, and stouts, all of which are hand-crafted in their Dublin brewery and shipped over for your consumption. They’ve gone to all that trouble, the least you can do is pop in for a drink…
21-22 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
4. The Tipperary, Blackfriars
This quaint old pub has been part of the Square Mile for almost four hundred years, providing a neat little link to the past despite the new developments around it. Rumoured to be the first pub to serve Guinness outside of Ireland, there’s no way we could overlook The Tipperary for this list. A perfect little place to whet your whistle with a pint of Irish champagne.
66 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1HT. Nearest station is Blackfriars.
5. The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
This Finsbury Park pub may have come from Ireland, but it’s clearly had a gap year on the way, given the Thai-heavy menu. No need to fear full moon parties and “finding yourself”, though, because the TV shows Gaelic football and there’s Guinness on tap. The Faltering Fullback also happens to be green as a shamrock, with a leafy exterior and a picturesque beer garden to boot.
19 Perth Road, Stroud Green, N4 3HB. Nearest station is Finsbury Park.
6. The Sheephaven Bay, Camden
There’s a fair few Irish pubs in Camden, but The Sheephaven Bay is probably the best of the lot. It’s also one of the best pubs with a misnomer: the place is named after Ships Haven Bay in County Donegal, but some silly English folks misheard it and the name stuck. Inside, the ceilings are hidden by memorabilia from every GAA and hurling team imaginable, and the conservatory and beer garden make it a perfect place to dodge the tourists gumming up Camden High Street.
2 Mornington Street, Camden Town, NW1 7QD. Nearest station is Mornington Crescent.
7. The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green
Guinness may be the obvious choice for a St Patrick’s Day drink, but The Sun Tavern will serve you something a tad stronger. Poitín (pronounced poteen) has been illegally brewed in Ireland for centuries, and was only fully legalised in 1997. This, along with the high alcohol content – some varieties top 90% ABV – earned it the nickname “Irish moonshine”, but it’s become increasingly popular in recent years. At The Sun Tavern, you’ll find a large selection of poitín to sample, along with whiskey and ales. But be warned: there’s a very good reason why the Irish word for hangover is póit…
441 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN. Nearest station is Bethnal Green.
Featured image: @timothy.findlay
Also published on Medium.