Ask a Londoner how they will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and you may get a puzzled look. St. Patrick’s Day is for the Irish and for visiting Americans I’ve been told. It may be a national holiday just a stone’s throw from our shores in Ireland, but Londoners don’t wear green or Kiss Me I’m Irish buttons and badges on March 17th. Not to worry though, with nearly 1 million Irish people living in the capital, there are plenty of places to raise a pint of the black stuff to St. Pat.
For a proper Irish knees-up there is the loved-by-some, loathed-by-others chain of O’Neill’s theme pubs with locations all over London. O’Neill’s in Covent Garden will be crammed with revelers dancing & singing along with the live music well into the wee hours. You will find much of the same craic at Soho’s most spirited Irish bar (in every sense on St Patrick’s night…), Waxy O’Connor’s.
If you’re looking for a more authentic experience head to The Tipperary, London’s oldest Irish pub, where the regulars don’t need an occasion to knock back several pints of Guinness. Expect it to be chockablock on the 17th but do try to check out the mosaic floor dotted with tiny shamrocks. More Guinness guzzling and Irish whiskey sampling can be found at Covent Garden’s Coach & Horses pub. Not so sure you’ll find a bona fide Irishman in sight, but a party is guaranteed.
If you are after perfectly prepared Irish cuisine, Mayfair is home to several oyster bars where posh locals and visitors gather in a lively atmosphere. Mulligans of Mayfair generally attracts a quieter crowd but expect a vibrant buzz on St. Patrick’s Day. Straight from County Meath, master chef Richard Corrigan runs both the popular Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill and fine dining eatery, Corrigan’s Mayfair. All of these restaurants merit a visit at any time.
Finally, here’s a couple of alternative Irish experiences: Vinopolis wine tasting bar is running a special St. Patrick’s Day Tour offering beer, whiskey and wine tastings, with a side of Guinness and steak pie, on the 17th and 18th; Dublin born rockabilly singer Imelda May will be performing to the St. Paddy’s Day crowd at the Roundhouse in Camden.