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Best Irish Pubs in London

Looking for a bit o’ the green in London…or maybe just a perfectly-poured Guinness?

Here are the best Irish pubs in town:

Auld Shillelagh
105 Church Street, Stoke Newington
Nearest Tube stations: St Paul’s, Mansion House and Bank
A deceptively sprawling place that features an outdoor patio all the way at the back. David Bowie fans should come the second Thursday of each month for Bowie Bar, with music selections from 1967-1985; other nights, there are movies on a big screen or local DJs spinning. A sports bar area with a TV is separately tucked away.

Claddagh Ring
10 Church Road, Hendon
Nearest Tube station: Hendon Central
Sports and more sports are shown on big TVs, and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night there’s live Irish music. However, this isn’t a rowdy place; come here with a clean shirt on to enjoy hearty traditional pub food, an outdoor patio in warm weather, and warm, friendly service.

Filthy McNasty’s
68 Amwell Street, Islington
Nearest Tube station: Angel
It’s name isn’t particularly apt: this warm, cozy pub is neither filthy nor nasty; with red walls and wood details, it feels a bit like a chapel that happens to serve beer, whisky and cocktails. It’s known as a rock’n’roll hangout, and features posters, memorabilia, a stocked jukebox, and occasional acoustic sessions.

O’Neill’s Islington
59 Upper Street, Islington
Nearest Tube station: Angel
Bright blue on the outside and serving some of London’s best traditional Irish pub food inside, there’s plenty of Gaelic charm here. There are TVs for watching sports, as well as DJs on Fridays, lively bands on Saturdays and acoustic music on Sundays.

The Porterhouse
21-22 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden
Nearest Tube station: Covent Garden
The warm and welcoming London outpost of an Irish chain, this place is renowned for its wide selection of exclusive, personally-brewed beers. The menu is a mix of traditional Irish pub food and a little gastropub cuisine (e.g., baked camembert). Thursday-Sunday, you’ll find live music.

Ryan’s Bar
181 Church Street, Stoke Newington
Nearest Tube stations: St Paul’s, Mansion House and Bank
One of the few pubs in London to feature Thai food and glowy Moroccan-style decor, Ryan’s also has a pool table, sports on TV, acoustic music downstairs, and a beer garden out back that’s open in warm weather. Not the perfect place for conversation, but a great place for entertainment.

The Tipperary
66 Fleet Street, Holborn
Nearest Tube stations: Blackfriars and Chancery Lane
Often called the oldest Irish pub in London, this is a time capsule of a bygone era in pub decor. Narrow and sometimes cramped by a friendly nighttime crowd, try to squeeze your way to the second (top) floor for more room and a possible seat.

Tir Na nOg
107 Garratt Lane, Wandsworth
Nearest Tube station: Putney Bridge
The pub’s name means “Land of Eternal Youth” in Gaelic, and while you may not stay young once you leave, you’ll certainly have a good time while you’re here. Draped in clover paraphernalia and often full of expat Irishmen watching Sky Sports on telly, this is the place for big portions of Irish pub food and a big selection of Irish beers.

The Toucan
19 Carlisle Street, Soho
Nearest Tube stations: Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus
London’s spiritual home of Guinness (and whisky), this is a little piece of Ireland in London. Small, dark and cave-like, with low tables and a great selection of Irish music.

Waxy O’Connor’s
14 – 16 Rupert Street, Leicester Square
Two entrances: Rupert Street and Wardour Street
Nearest Tube stations: Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square
An enormous place with multiple bars, arched wooden ceilings, tiled floors and church-like decor and a tree growing up through the middle. A great place to tuck into a hidden corner and settle in for a pint (or three).

If I’ve missed your favorite Irish pub in London, please mention it here!