Irish or otherwise, Londoners love to get involved in St Patrick’s Day celebrations. And little wonder, with so much Irish culture in our city. We thought it’d be apt to take the opportunity to celebrate some of our favourite Irish businesses in the capital. We’ve sifted through the tacky, gimmicky, and downright false ‘Irish-themed’ venues to find the authentic and noble Irish establishments that deserve a shout out. If you’re stuck for some Irish inspiration for things to do on St Patrick’s Day in London, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Find the perfect pint of Guinness
Irish pubs and bars have been the first choice for discerning drinkers for decades. Aside from a great selection of whiskies and stouts, you can also find live music and dancing in abundance. Here are some ideas for wetting your whistle with a bit of craic.
Don’t be put off by the name, this boozer in Angel is a perfectly respectable establishment for a civilised drink. This self-described ‘Whisky Café’ boasts regular live music events and as a result has attracted a loyal following of heavy rockers. Don’t miss their ‘Great London Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Quiz’ every Monday evening.
Not just a pub, this is also a cultural hotspot; you can often catch book launches and poetry readings at their ‘Vox n’ Roll’ night. Punters come from far and wide for their enviable ale selection, as well as one of the most complete Irish Whisky offers available in London.
Address: 68 Amwell Street, London, EC1R 1UU
Nearest station: Angel
Currently holding the esteemed title of ‘oldest Irish pub in London’, this Fleet Street
favourite has been serving punters since 1605. Legend has it that this famous establishment was the first to serve Guinness in England. The Tipperary takes its heritage very seriously, right down to the mosaic shamrocks that adorn the well-trodden floor.
If you’re heading over at peak times, it’s a good thing to note that this is not a spacious pub, expect to be using elbows to make your way to the bar, most likely through a throng of American tourists, busy claiming some long-lost Irish ancestry.
Address: 66 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1HT
Nearest station: Blackfriars
The Auld Shillelagh
Coming from humble roots, when the Auld Shillelagh first set up in London in 1991, it was nothing more than a bar, a few stools, a single toilet and a dart board on the door. Over 20 years later and the Stoke Newington favourite is now 3 times longer (note, no wider), and boasting an impressive beer garden.
The Guinness served has been described by customers and reviewers as the best in North London, the Auld Shillelagh being one of the few pubs to still take the time and care required to pull the perfect pint.
The entertainment here ranges from Irish jigs to Bowie-themed evenings, with themed food to boot (check out their Diamond Hot Dogs). And don’t miss their regular happy hours, where you can pretend it’s 1991 as far as your wallet is concerned.
Address: 105 Stoke Newington Church Street
Nearest station: Stoke Newington
Eat your body weight in Irish stew
Champions of hearty and wholesome food, St Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to go hunting for some traditional Irish home cooking. Expect unpretentious fare and make plenty of room, and you won’t go far wrong. Here’s a couple of our favourites.
J & A Café
Tucked away down an alleyway in Clerkenwell, you’d be forgiven for not knowing this little Irish-owned outfit existed. Sisters Johanna and Aoife Ledwidge set up this traditional café in an old diamond cutting factory, and have a loyal following for their locally-sourced, home-cooked fare.
Expect delicious stews and Irish soda bread to die for, this is a destination for some serious comfort food of the highest order. For a real taste of Ireland, try their Irish cheese plate, made up of a handpicked selection of carefully-sourced Irish cheeses, oatcakes and tomato relish.
If you’re heading over for afternoon tea, you can always expect a big pot of tea brewing and a homemade cake on the table.
Address: 4 Sutton Lane, London, EC1M 5PU
Nearest station: Barbican
If you thought all Irish cuisine was humble, think again. This Mayfair favourite boasts elegant, impressive and delicious food with an Irish lilt, with ingredients sourced from both sides of the Irish Sea. Chef Richard Corrigan holds several Michelin stars for his culinary excellence.
With market-sourced ingredients, the menu changes regularly depending on what’s in season. Price-wise, this restaurant is by no means a budget choice, but their lunch and Sunday deals are certainly competitive, especially in Mayfair. All whilst encompassing the gamey, bold flavours of Irish cooking that run through its core.
Address: 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, London, W1K 7EH
Nearest station: Marble Arch
Brush up on a bit of Irish culture
The Irish Cultural Centre
For a bit of Irish education in London, look no further than the ICC in Hammersmith. For fans of Irish music, there are courses available for learning traditional Irish instruments, or even dancing.
There’s an Irish film club and even a choir, a fantastic opportunity for meeting people with Irish links. And you’ve always fancied learning the Irish language, there are even courses for that too.
For a flying visit, there are exhibitions showcasing the best artists from the far side of the Irish Sea.
Address: Blacks Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DT
Nearest station: Hammersmith