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London's best Irish bars and pubs

Guinness, whiskey and dancing – get a hit of craic at one of the most authentic Irish pubs in London

© Nerida Howard

In theory, if not in practice, anyone can pour a pint of Guinness. But if you're looking for a London pub that's Irish-owned, stocks Irish ales and whiskeys, or often hosts traditional music, food and even dancing, then look no further. Here’s a round up the best Irish pubs in London for St Patrick's Day and beyond. 

Irish pubs and bars in London

Auld Shillelagh

Known for its exceptional Guinness, always poured with care, and occasional raucous entertainment. It's the kind of pub where the wine list runs to 'red or white', and the staff are so matey and hospitable that they'll offer to bring your Guinness over to your table.

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Stoke Newington

Blythe Hill Tavern

Three tiny, dark, wood-panelled rooms, with a bar in each housing framed jockey portraits. The pumps have four regularly changing, well-kept guest ales. There’s Guinness, of course, a fair few Irish whiskeys and Irish music on Thursdays. Smart, tie-clad bar staff are knowledgeable and friendly.

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Honor Oak Park

Boston Arms

This huge, resolutely ungentrified Victorian boozer is a popular and sometimes raucous Irish pub located just opposite Tufnell Park tube, with Irish music on Saturday nights. Check out the adjacent Boston Music Room and Tufnell Park Dome for even more live tunes. 

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Tufnell Park

The Claddagh Ring

This Hendon pub is as legendary as Father Ted Crilly, with 25 years in the business. As such, catch All-Ireland Cup games and see Irish sporting legends stop by, while bands on tour from the homeland make this their gig spot of choice when in town. Among the standard pub grub fare you’ll find soda bread sandwiches. For St Patrick’s Day, find Irish dancing and live bands across two floors throughout the day.

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A cosy slice of (faux-)Irish pubbery in hip Notting Hill, known for its good oysters and Guinness. The Cow is a rural Irish pub as imagined by Disney – all cutesy cottage-style net curtains, Guinness adverts and glossy 1950s Technicolor paintwork.

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Faltering Fullback

This vaguely Irish pub has long been a Finsbury Park favourite, and that's 98 percent down to its amazing garden. But drinks are reasonably priced, the Thai food is good and it’s a sport-watchers paradise. Obviously, Irish teams dominate, especially when it comes to rugger. 

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Finsbury Park

The Lamb

Cosy indie pub with Irish music sessions every Tuesday and folk music on Sundays. It’s got a London edge too though, acting as an Arsenal hot spot on match days and with local craft beers on tap. Don’t worry – of course they pour Guinness. 

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Mc & Sons

Irish family-operated Mc & Sons pulls in the ex-pats, despite being relatively new on the London pub scene. It’s a wood-clad space with framed photos and newspaper clippings paying homage to past generations. Come on a quiet evening for Thai grub and a pint of lager, or visit on match days or folk nights when that famous Irish welcome is in full effect.

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Nuala Bar

Don’t expect rowdy hell-raising and four-leaf-clover decor from Nuala Bar: you’ll see winks to Irish tradition in old Guinness artwork, a wood-panelled room with red leather bar stools and flashes of green tiling – and The Pogues on the sound system. The bar specialises in punch and slick whiskey cocktails, but it’s also having a stab at pouring the best Guinness going in London.

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Old Street


A Covent Garden outpost of the Dublin brewery, this cavernous hostelry has an impressive selection of own-brewed ales, including three stouts – the An Brain Blásta, at 7%, lives up to its name. Bottled beers are a global lot.

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Covent Garden
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Find even more options for drinking in London

The 100 best bars and pubs in London

The best tipplehouses in all of London town. Read our extensive guide to drinking in style in bars, pubs and watering holes that are a cut above the rest.

Read more
By: Laura Richards


The Man on the Street

I assume Authentic Irish Drinking experience means piss up - in which case, I nominate The Toucan as the best of the bunch. Pavement scene there is a better vibe than most bars can create inside or out.

Tara E

@The Man on the Street Wow, racist much?? Authentic Irish Drinking is more likely to mean 'social', 'talkative' even 'loud' but piss up is such a tired, old racist comment.