Irish Pubs

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The Toucan

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The Toucan
The Boogaloo
Waxy O'Connors
Mc & Sons
The Sun Tavern
Daffodil Mulligan
The Cow
The Faltering Fullback


The Irish pub is a phenomenon around the world. The wholesome blend of traditional, rustic decor, folk music, good-humour and Guinness strikes a chord in many cultures. The itinerant nature of the Irish means you'll often find a bona fide Irishman propping up the bar, and this is no truer than in London. With a large, tight-knit Irish community, London's pubs will be buzzing with the welcoming sound of Gaelic laughter and sloshing pints of Guinness.

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Daffodil Mulligan

Richard Corrigan, John Nugent and Tony Gibney are behind this oyster bar and a basement saloon in Shoreditch.

70-74 City Road, Old Street , London, EC1Y 2BJ

Tube: Old Street Station


For his third restaurant in London, Irish chef Richard Corrigan has gone into business with two fellow Irishmen: John Nugent, who founded Kings Place in King's Cross; and Tony Gibney from the well-known Irish pub Gibney's of Malahide. Named Daffodil Mulligan after the daughter of legendary Irish street seller Biddy Mulligan - immortalised in the Irish folk song Biddy Mulligan - the 60-cover restaurant includes a 10-seater oyster bar and a basement saloon bar where craft beers and spirits focus on smaller Irish distilleries and live music is played on select nights. In the restaurant upstairs, the hearty, changing menu is inspired by Corrigan's travels with much of the produce coming from his Virginia Park Lodge estate in Ireland. Daffodil Mulligan joins Corrigan's, Dickie's Bar and Bentley's in Mayfair.


The Boogaloo

The Boogaloo is run by Irish landlord Gerry O'Boyle of Filthy McNasty's infamy.

312 Archway Road, London, N6 5AT

Tube: Highgate Station


The Boogaloo has succeeded in breaking the all pervasive contemporary pub blueprint, fashioning a popular alternative with a great atmosphere - and not an inch of light pine to be seen! The pub - presided over by Irish landlord Gerry O'Boyle of Filthy McNasty's infamy - looks aged and comfortable with an inviting slightly living-roomy feel about it. Bar staff peer out from behind the rickety wooden bar over a mishmash of sofas, chandeliers and convenient pint-resting shelves. The centrepiece of the pub is its magnificent jukebox, home to over a hundred albums. The Boogaloo has a strict policy of only stocking the machine with great albums over ten years old (to make fully sure they stand the test of time). It's terrific to see the punters picking out their own soundtrack to the evening, rather than a set by yet another DJ Nobody. If you need a little guidance on what to put on, there's always the celebrity choice list, nominated by a different musical luminary each month.


Mc & Sons

Very much a family affair, whose roots are firmly in Ireland, Mc & Sons is an Irish boozer serving Thai food.

160 Union Street, London, SE1 0LH

Tube: Southwark Station


Very much a family affair, with roots in Ireland, Mc & Sons is an Irish boozer serving Thai food. As only a true Irish pub would have it, the focal point is the bar but there's a hideaway snug, historically a favoured spot by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, for longer, laid back sessions. The pub is a reflection of its owners the Mc Elhinney family who moved from Maynooth in North County Kildare in the '70s and established Windmill Taverns Group which own The Ring, Jacks Bar, The Windmill and the Kings Arms. The new generation has brought a South East Asian influence with son Johnny married to the lovely Lailar who makes sure all the Thai food - stir fries, noodles and curries - is authentic. As head chef, Lailar sources all the spices and recipes on annual trips back to Chaing Mai where her family still live.


The Cow

The Cow is hugely popular with locals, and it's easy to see why. Wonderful, seasonal food comes in huge, steaming portions, the service is friendly and efficient.

89 Westbourne Park Road, Bayswater, London, W2 5QH

Tube: Westbourne Park Station , Royal Oak Station


Sitting on top of a noisy, packed pub, this dining room serves excellent traditional British food at steep prices. The Cow is hugely popular with locals, and it's easy to see why. Wonderful, seasonal food comes in huge, steaming portions, the service is friendly and efficient, there's an impressive wine list and happy faces all around. The seafood sourced from local Notting Hill fishmongers is especially good. For a gastropub it really is rather expensive, but everything about this place is spot on. Notes: Early booking essential.


The Sun Tavern

Originally opened in 1851 as The Sun Inn, this Bethnal Green drinking den is considered a bar by the present ownership - the people behind the Discount Suit Company.

441 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN

Tube: Bethnal Green Underground Station


Originally opened in 1851 as The Sun Inn, this Bethnal Green drinking den is considered a bar by the present ownership - the people behind the Discount Suit Company. Known for their experimental cocktails, mixed drinks are expertly made with the wide range of whiskies they stock, gin as well as that potent Irish spirit poitin. Still, The Sun Tavern feels like a pub inside - the lighting is low, black and white photos of the old East End adorn the walls and they serve excellent beers from London breweries.


The Toucan

Tiny Irish bar in Soho with a spectacular collection of Irish whiskeys.

19 Carlisle Street, Soho, London, W1D 3BX

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station


This is not so much a restaurant as a tiny atmospheric Irish bar. Having grown out of its minuscule basement into the bar upstairs it's always busy with tentacles of carousers often overflowing into the street, all the way down to Soho Square. As well as the food there is a spectacular collection of Irish whiskeys, sufficient to amaze even the most hardened whisk-o-phile. They also mix a fine list of delicious Guinness-inspired cocktails. Nowadays every pub and his dog is serving Magners cider, but The Toucan is possibly the only place in London selling it on tap. This is certainly not the place to come for a quiet bite to eat, and not for those who have an aversion to small dark spaces. However, it is the place to come if you want to combine drinking, dancing, revelry and a bite to eat.


Waxy O'Connors

Live music, rugby and plenty of Guinness are served here on St Patrick's Day weekend.

14-16 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 6DF

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station


Tacky O'Theme Pubs are busy enough on a normal week night, filled with all the office workers chasing a pint and a snog, but come St Patrick's Day they get absolutely rammed to the rafters with jubilant revellers. The parade goes pretty close to this one so it's perfect for a pit-stop. The cavernous interior, spreading across six levels, means it can only maintain a little bubble of atmosphere in each section, as well as a live band upstairs that won't disturb those who just fancy a bit of a blether. On the weekend before St Patrick's Day, the whole place will be a sea of Guinness, sing-song with live music and good cheer. Just one note of caution: make sure you stay close to your friends - this place is massive and easy to get lost in.


The Auld Shillelagh

Top quality Guinness that's ideal for enjoying on St Patrick's Day

105 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 0UD

Tube: Manor House Station


The Guinness in this soothingly dark little Celtic den is nothing short of exceptional. Smooth, bitter, creamy and rich they serve up divine pints of the black stuff. Cavernous with cambered ceilings, this place feels endearingly authentic. A refurbishment has done no end of good without rupturing the age-old Irish artery that pumps Celtic tradition through the pub. Any revellers who step across its hallowed Gaelic threshold will receive one of the warmest welcomes in the capital. Guinness (that's all they expect you to drink) will be poured in its own time and brought to your table unprompted by staff employed to shower sincere smiles on their slightly inebriated patrons.


The Tipperary

London's first Irish pub serves Guinness by draught and bottle.

66 Fleet Street, City, London, EC4Y 1HY

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station


Visit this pub and you'll soon find out it's really not a long way to Tipperary. In fact it's merely a ten minute walk (stumble) from Blackfriars Tube. As London's first Irish pub, there's no better place to guzzle Guinness and toast the friendly folk from the Emerald Isle. Founded in 1700, by Dublin brewer SG Mooney, this lofty, narrow boozer was the first place to sell the black stuff, both bottled and draught. Suffolk's Greene King bought The Tipperary in the 1960s and restored it to its 18th century beauty. The floor mosaic is intricately peppered with shamrocks, while the walls are panelled in a rich dark wood. On both floors the pub is slung with huge mirrors and faded prints of Dublin and Cork. Typically, you'll come across a whole bunch of tourists visiting this charismatic little pub keen to enjoy a tipple in such a historically loaded venue. Not forgetting of course, the handful of Americans who come in every week claiming some sort of vague Irish ancestry.


The Faltering Fullback

The Irish-run Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park is hidden away in the back streets.

19 Perth Road, London, N4 3HB

Tube: Finsbury Park Station


The Irish-run Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park is a gem of a pub hidden away in the back streets of Stroud Green and five minutes' walk from Finsbury Park. Made up of two bars, two back rooms and an outside terrace set over two levels, the main front bar is arranged around a horseshoe-shaped bar with guitars, model aeroplanes, sporting trophies and a bicycle suspended from the ceiling. The back bar continues the theme and a third space beyond is where you'll find the pool table. On match days the crowds come to enjoy sporting action on the screens and the large back room offers a great atmosphere for rival fans. A further set of doors leads out into what has been described by The Guardian as "London's most unusual beer garden". The pub makes maximum use of its limited outside space with a multi-tiered outside terrace, overlooked by a leafy veranda. This can be a sun-trap during the more clement seasons, and is an excellent place to wile away a Sunday afternoon on one of the many wooden tables around the stairwell.



Excellent Guinness and a fine selection of bottled beers.

65 Kentish Town Road, London, NW1 8NY

Tube: Camden Town Station , Camden Town Station


At first glance you wouldn't put Quinn's down as an Irish pub - put the name aside and what you have is simply a great pub, not just another soulless Celtic-branded pub, a la O'Neil's. The Irish landlord and the fair smattering of punters from the Western Isle are what makes it Irish and this is reflected by the pleasant, convivial atmosphere. The beer selection will strike you (but not with its Irishness) - a long polished bar stretches away into the distance with over 20 pumps serving beers from all over the place, and possibly the best bottled selection in the Capital. Of course you can get excellent Guinness, but the pub is particularly notable for German and Belgian beers. It gets pretty raucous on St. Patrick's Day, so be prepared.


Philomena's Irish Bar

Irish themed bar and sports cafe on Great Queen Street.

40 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5AA

Tube: Holborn Station , Covent Garden Station


Philomena's is an Irish themed bar and sports cafe on Great Queen Street, just two minutes walk from Covent Garden tube station. A great place to watch live sports - there's a great atmosphere when there's an Irish match or the Six Nations rugby is on - this bar on the site of an O'Neills pub is a family-owned business which now has a far more genuine Irish feel to it. The narrow twin-bar layout remains much the same but improvements have been made to the menu, which is reasonably priced and includes delicacies like bacon, cabbage and mash and Galway bay oysters. It also serves real ale from four handpumps, Guinness on tap, Tayto crisps and shows lots different sports on the many TV screens. Perfect for watching Leinster on the big screen above the fire with a pint of the black stuff in hand.

Irish Pubs in London
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