The date 17 March sees Guinness flowing like a river, green hats on every head, and craic aplenty, with Saint Patrick’s Day revellers out in full force.
Celebrated since the early 17th century in honour of Ireland’s Patron Saint Patrick, the Irish holiday has now spread across the globe, with people as far as the US getting involved in the fun.
If you can’t make it to Ireland for the celebrations this year, why not head to one of the City’s many Irish pubs instead? With traditional beers, food, and music, it will feel like you’re having a blast in the real Emerald Isle.
Here’s our pick of the best Irish pubs in and around the City.
Head to Rupert Street on the edge of Soho to receive a warm Irish welcome at Waxy O’Connor’s, one of London largest and most famous Irish pubs. Lose yourself in one of Waxy’s four unique bars, which are spread over an impressive six levels (or work your way through them all?). Though quintessentially Irish, each bar has its own atmosphere and personality, as well as a sumptuous choice of food and drink.
The pub is named after Finbar O’Connor, a famous candlemaker from Dublin who was born in 1788. After following his father into the business of candle making, Finbar became known as ‘Waxy’ and developed a great appetite and capacity for hard liquor.
According to the stories, Waxy was not alone among men of his craft, all with a fondness for consuming legendary amounts of beer and whisky. Their excuse for such excess? Candlemakers worked in such strong temperatures that they were ‘sapped of both energy and bodily liquids’! The stories recall Waxy commenting: “Such heat doth parch a man and a parched man is a barren man – beer is the only cure – us lads could put away gallons in a day.”
Though you may not make candles, we’re sure you deserve a beverage or two at Waxy’s namesake establishment.
14-16 Rupert Street W1D 6DD
While Porterhouse might be one of the largest Irish bars in London, it comes from small beginnings – with The Porterhouse Brewing Co. starting up in Dublin back in 1996. The owners opened their Covent Garden bar in 2000, starting with a just small menu of beverages and food. Fast-forward to 2023, and Porterhouse is a bustling joint with three main levels and mezzanine levels in between, and an extensive menu of food and drink.
Make sure to sample one of their award-winning craft beers – or order yourself a sample beer paddle featuring three third-pint glasses of beer, if you can’t decide on one! We recommend the Porterhouse Temple Lager (4.2%), made with Hallertau hops combined with premium Irish malted barley to create a clean-cut pilsner. It’s the establishments top selling lager – and it’s no wonder why.
If you’re into cocktails, you won’t be disappointed, with 16 delicious concoctions to choose from, and an entire section of the menu dedicated to bloody Mary’s.
When it comes to food, Porterhouse can cater to an array of diets – with plenty on offer for vegetarian and vegan pub-goers. Try the vegan hot dog and fries for a lip-smacking meal, complete with a smoky plant-based hot dog, crispy onions, and oodles or mustard and ketchup. Yum!
21-22 Maiden Lane WC2E 7NA
Mc & Sons
An Irish pub with a twist – Mc & Sons will delight you with traditional beers… alongside delicious Thai food. Not one to be missed, the Southwark-based venue is a place for commuters, colleagues, friends, and family to come together in an authentic environment to enjoy the hospitality of the Irish with exotic undertones.
Run and owned by the Mc Elhinney family, Mc & Sons is built on happy memories and good times through the generations – you’ll see pictures of various family members adorning the pub’s walls, and you may even meet one of the clan serving at the bar. With an aim to help punters ‘step back in time’, Mc & Sons throws back to Ireland’s wonderful Maynooth, though one bite of the food and you’ll be transported to Southeast Asia!
Take your pick of rebooted Irish pub classics, like the Khao Soi curry and chips, or try something a little more adventurous – we love the Tar Kai (rice, and vegetables with chilli in a spicy lemongrass sauce, with emphasis on spicy!). Don’t leave without trying the banana fritters, it’s a real Thai treat that will have you wanting more – and when served alongside Guiness, it’s really something special.
A beer and a meal at Mc & Sons really is a cross-continental journey; so grab a beer and enjoy the ride.
160 Union St, London SE1 0LH
Gibney’s Bar and Daffodil Mulligan’s
Want to experience fine dining in an Irish setting? No problem. Want to enjoy a pint while watching the rugby? Also, no problem. The two worlds collide in the heart of Shoreditch, where Daffodil Mulligan and basement bar Gibney’s London bring you Michelin-star food with the mischief of the Irish.
Daffodil Mulligan has become the ultimate destination for dining, drinking, and live music, embodying the true soul of Ireland. If you’re after world-class food, remain upstairs in the restaurant, but if you fancy a more casual affair, head down to the basement.
With music, sport, and comedy showing every week, Gibney’s has a jam-packed calendar of events throughout the year, meaning that you’ll want to visit time and time again. Make sure not to miss their Saint Patricks Day fun – it’s sure to be a corker!
If you fancy visiting the original Gibney’s pub, you’ll find it nine miles from Dublin in the north coast seaside town of Malahide, where it has been owned and run by the Gibney family since 1937. In London, Tony Gibney (after which the bar is named) has come together with two other hospitality legends – Richard Corrigan and John Nugent – to bring you the experience of a top dining restaurant and the welcome you’d expect from your local, but in five-star surroundings. Certainly, Gibney’s and Daffodil Mulligan’s have it all.
70-74 City Road, EC1Y 2BJ
daffodilmulligan.com|Gibney’s London | Live Music, Sports & Comedy
Waxy’s Little Sister
Brought to you by the same people that own and run Waxy O’Connor’s, Waxy’s Little Sister is for those of you who enjoy something a little more chilled. Much smaller than the original Waxy’s, Little Sister offers comfy sofas, open fires, and relaxing vibes, making it a great place to settle in for an evening.
Spread over two floors, there’s even a Dumb Waiter on the top level, so you don’t have to trapse the stairs to fetch your round – it doesn’t get much more laid back than that!
Famous for Irish coffee, we recommend ordering a mug or two (…or three!). It’s carefully crafted using a small batch coffee producer and Redbreast Whiskey, which has been voted the World’s Best Irish Whiskey for two years in a row.
So, what are you waiting for? Ease yourself into Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations with an easy-going visit to this cosy little bar.
20 Wardour Street W1D 6QG
Waxy’s Little Sister – World’s Best Irish Pub
Feeney’s Irish Pub
Nothing says St. Paddy’s Day like an Irish Pub, which is why Feeney’s Irish Pub makes it to the top of our list for things to do in and around the City of London in March. Ready for some good craic and all the comforts of a homey Irish joint? Feeney’s operates on a first come first serve basis, so be sure to get there early.
48 Mark Ln EC3R 7QH
Looking for a cool basement bar to raise a jar on St. Paddy’s Day? Merchant House is a traditional gin and rum bar with loads of classic cocktails to enjoy. You can also check out the smallest bar in London tucked away in another room, which can be hired for small groups.
13 Well Court EC4M 9DN
The Lamb Tavern
The Lamb Tavern is one of the oldest pubs in the city of London making for a most traditional place to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. Sprawled over three floors and located in the heart of Leadenhall Market, this pub is always a popular after-work spot. Grab a pint and pull up a comfy stool at this favourite spot.
10-12 Leadenhall Market EC3V 1LR