19 of the best Irish pubs in London

Whether it’s St Patrick’s Day or a random Tuesday, these Irish pubs are great craic

Updated on • Written By Caroline Hendry

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19 of the best Irish pubs in London

If you are of Irish descent, you may well be familiar with ‘The Irish Pub Song’ by The High Kings. The famously catchy lyrics proclaim that 'wherever you go around the world you'll find an Irish pub' – let us tell you, they aren’t wrong. Over the years, we’ve discovered Irish pubs everywhere from Bali to Bahrain Airport (true story) and it seems that the global appetite for a bit of craic shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with Irish pubs in London gracing nearly every neighbourhood.


When it comes to enjoying some Gaelic hospitality in our own city, the fleet of Irish pubs London has to offer are the closest thing to an authentic slice of the Emerald Isle that you’ll find in the capital (short of booking a Ryanair flight to Dublin). What is the appeal of Irish pubs though and why are they so favoured over their British-or-otherwise counterparts?

Well, the answer to that is probably that Irish pubs are famous for offering up a dose of warm hospitality, alongside comforting pub grub and satisfying drinks such as Irish stew and smooth pints of Guinness. You will also often find that the best Irish bars in London host live music, such as traditional folk bands and more.

After a long day at work spent dreaming of a pint of Guinness, you’re probably left wondering 'if only there were some Irish pubs near me?' They can be hard to track down if you don’t know where to look, but we’re happy to inform you that there is probably the perfect option just a short distance away. Whether you’re after an Irish pub in Soho or want to experience the buzz of Covent Garden’s Irish pub scene, London’s flock of Irish drinking dens stretch far and wide, all the way from central through to the capital’s more leafy neighbourhoods.

Next time you find yourself craving a Guinness, head to our pick of the best Irish bars in London, which are full of pints, Tayto crisps and good craic.

Gibneys, Shoreditch

guinness and rugby at Daffodil Mulligan

What: Richard Corrigan’s first London restaurant outside of Mayfair - the lovely Daffodil Mulligan in Shoreditch - comes equipped with a moody basement bar where you can often find live folk bands playing on the weekends. Naturally, Gibney's is well stocked with Tayto crisps and Club Orange, while the Guinness is some of the best you’ll find this side of the Irish Sea.
70-74 City Road, EC1Y 2BJ
Book now: Gibney's

The Auld Shillelagh, Stoke Newington

craic at the Auld Shillelagh

What: Having served the people of Stokey for over 20 years, The Auld Shillelagh is a bit of a local institution. Expat staff from Roscommon will make you feel welcome, while top-quality Guinness, decent pub grub and the occasional live band add to the pub’s appeal. If the weather’s playing ball, check out the beer garden at the back for a pint in the sunshine in one of London's best beer gardens.
Where: 105 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0UD
Book now: The Auld Shillelagh

The Blythe Hill Tavern, Catford

Pouring wine

What: The Blythe Hill Tavern sits between Forest Hill and Catford, and is known for serving a cracking pint of Guinness - a must for any reputable Irish pub in the capital. You can revel in live Irish music on Thursdays, watch live sports on game days and whilst there’s not a food menu here to choose from, there is a pizza van outside and a substantial choice of snacks to tuck into whilst you knock back a pint or two.
Where: 319 Stanstead Road, SE6 4US
Book now: The Blythe Hill Tavern

The Toucan, Soho

outside the Toucan

What: Guinness may be a bit more creative with its adverts these days, but for a long time the Toucan was instantly recognisable as its advertising emblem. At this pub of the same name, you’ll find Guinness adverts all over the walls, while The Toucan is also home to a decent range of Irish whiskey. Food-wise, expect no-frills pub grub.
Where: 19 Carlisle Street, W1D 3BY
Book now: The Toucan

The Cow, Bayswater

team picture outside The Cow

What: Following a refurb in 2015, the upstairs dining room at The Cow is now a much smarter affair than it has been historically, serving oysters and seafood platters alongside more traditional pub grub such as beef and Guinness pie. If you’re after a relaxed experience though, you’ll find it in the downstairs bar, which serves all of the usual drinks in a setting that remains pleasantly scruffy.
Where: 89 Westbourne Park Road, W2 5QH
Book now: The Cow

Waxy O’Connor’s, Covent Garden

Waxy O'Connors bar

What: There are some Londoners who would roll their eyes at Waxy O’Connors inclusion in this list, and it is true that the Covent Garden boozer isn’t the most authentic of Irish drinking dens. Nonetheless, it’s hard to beat Waxy’s central location right by Piccadilly Circus, while the pub’s impressive selection of over 100 Irish whiskies is worth exploring too.
14-16 Rupert Street, W1D 6DD
Book now: Waxy O’Connors

The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park

inside the Faltering Fullback

What: Down a quiet backstreet you’ll find charming local boozer The Faltering Fullback, drenched in ivy, which boasts a rather magical back garden with a many-tiered, boozy tree house. The inside space is multi-layered too, with a couple of bars, a large back room and a pool table. Sport is a passion here, so you can pick up a cue or watch the match on TV.
Where: 19 Perth Road, N4 3HB
Book now: The Faltering Fullback

The Sheephaven Bay, Camden

Sheephaven Bay pub

What: With a ceiling covered in Irish sporting memorabilia, there’s no mistaking The Sheephaven Bay in Camden for anything other than a lively Irish pub. With two bars, three separate seating areas, a conservatory and a beer garden, there’s plenty of room inside, as well as 14" plasma screens showing live sport every weekend.
Where: 2 Mornington Street, NW1 7QD
Book now: The Sheephaven Bay

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

a pint at London Porterhouse

What: The Porterhouse may be one of the largest Irish pubs London has to offer, but it still manages to feel intimate. Stretched across three floors, the venue is home to both a cocktail bar and its Dingle Whiskey Bar, while beers are sourced straight from Dublin. If you’re feeling peckish, fill your boots with The Porterhouse’s menu of wraps, pizzas and burgers.   
Where: 21-22 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA
Book now: The Porterhouse

Tir Na Nog, Earlsfield

front of Tir Na Nog

What: Tir Na Nog translates from Gaelic as ‘land of eternal youth’, and after a few hours in this family-run establishment, you may well end up feeling like a teen again. That’s because Tir Na Nog is bags of fun, with sports games regularly being shown on big screens and a pool table too. If that’s not enough to tempt you, the knock-down prices (from £3 a pint) should seal the deal.  
Where: 107 Garratt Lane, SW18 4DW
Book now: Tir Na Nog

Waxy's Little Sister, Soho

Guinness glass

What: If you’ve ever experienced the wonder of Waxy O’Connor, then you’ll need no persuading when it comes to Waxy’s Little Sister. This is a slightly more chilled alternative to it’s Rupert Street sibling, and offers all of the comforts from sofas to sink into, to a roaring fireplace. There’s even a dumbwaiter to deliver your drinks if you’re sat upstairs, so you don’t have to make the journey yourself!
Where: 20 Wardour Street, W1D 6QG
Book now: Waxy’s Little Sister

Mc & Sons, Southwark

Front of pub with landlords and a dog

What: Overseen by the McElhinney family, Mc & Sons is a tale of two eras. Formerly The Charles Dickens, the interiors here hark back to the 1800s, but the food and drink offering is far more contemporary. Expect craft ales from Dublin alongside fairly-priced Thai dishes such as massaman curry and spicy drunken noodles.
Where: 160 Union Street, SE1 0LH
Book now: Mc & Sons

Skehan's Free House, Peckham

flowers outside Skehans Free House

What: You know where you stand when a pub declares themselves, ‘purveyors of craic.’ It’s a bold title to award oneself, but Skehan’s Free House undeniably purveys plenty of craic, of all different forms. Even if you roll in on a quiet Monday evening you might find a rip roaring jam session going down, as locals bring their own instruments to join in. There are quiz nights too, and karaoke, live sports and more, all just a few minutes walk from Nunhead station.
Where: 1 Kitto Road, SE14 5TW
Book now: Skehan's Free House

Connolly’s Bar & Diner, Chiswick

Pub exterior

What: Connolly’s prides itself as the only Irish bar in Chiswick, and takes the role very seriously. You can expect live traditional Irish music on Fridays and Saturdays, plenty of live sports options (including GAA), and some comforting Irish food to complete the experience. Visit in summer for a taste of the BBQs held in the back garden and make the most of the impressive space.
Where: 450 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, W4 5TT
Book now: Connolly’s Bar & Diner

The Claddagh Ring, Hendon

outside terrace at claddagh ring

What: If you’re lucky enough to live in the vicinity of this Irish pub, you might just live next to one of the best locals in London. The live music schedule is always packed with talented bands, and the Guinness flows freely on any given night, but particularly during Irish Six Nations and World Cup matches.
Where: 10 Church Road, NW4 4EA
Book now: The Claddagh Ring

The Hemingford Arms, Islington

outside The Hemingford Arms

What: This old Irish boozer has been a staple of Islington life since 1855, and it still has all that old charm. You’ll see it from a mile away in the summer thanks to the verdant floral display, and inside there are two floors to explore, as well as a good in-house Thai kitchen and a big function room perfect for private dining.
Where: 158 Hemingford Road, N1 1DF
Book now: The Hemingford Arms

Howl at the Moon, Hoxton

crowds on the pavement outside Howl at the Moon

What: It’s easy to see why East Londoners have such a fondness for this Hoxton boozer - Howl at the Moon exudes a casual, fun-loving vibe that instantly makes you feel at home. Throw in quality beers on tap, surprisingly good (and affordable) food and plenty of live sport and music, and there’s lots to keep you coming back for more.
Where: 178 Hoxton Street, N1 5LH
Book now: Howl at the Moon

Sir Colin Campbell, Kilburn

inside the pub at Sir Colin Campbell

What: The Sir Colin Campbell has been a fixture of Kilburn High Road since 1898, and has long had deep ties with traditional Irish folk musicians, who still come to perform live here on the weekends. Six rotating cask ale lines shine a spotlight on quality independent British beer makers including Dark Star, Magic Rock, Thornbridge, Wild Beer, Five Points and many more. There’s a whole load of quality craft beers on offer too, as well as live sport, a great pub quiz and fresh pasta dishes courtesy of Pasta Evangelists.
Where: 264-266 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2BY
Book now: Sir Colin Campbell

The Lamb, Holloway

beers on tap at The Lamb

What: First built as a boozer in 1870, The Lamb is steeped in history. The pub you see before you now had a refurb in 2012 but it has retained a lot of the old detailing and aesthetics, giving The Lamb a comforting old-world feel. This is a real nuts-and-bolts pub - 12 keg lines and 3 cask lines, with indie brewers like Five Points, Howling Hops, Signature Brew and By The Horns all featuring. There’s no food but you can bring your own along for the frequent and raucous live music nights.
Where: 54 Holloway Road, N7 8JL
Book now: The Lamb

If you don’t discriminate when it comes to drinking dens, check out our pick of London’s coolest bars, or why not take a look at London's best wine bars, if you're into fine wines and even finer cuisine?

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