NIGHTLIFE

A Guin­ness or whiskey, any­one? As the pa­tron saint of Ire­land is cel­e­brated on St Pa­trick’s Day this month, Sam Rogg en­joys a drink in some of Lon­don’s most au­then­tic Ir­ish pubs

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Happy St Pa­trick’s Day! En­joy a pint of Guin­ness or two at an au­then­tic Ir­ish pub.

If you’re in Lon­don on St Pa­trick’s Day (17 Mar) then you’re in for a treat as the city turns green with rev­ellers ea­ger to cel­e­brate the pa­tron saint of Ire­land.

Ex­pect Ir­ish danc­ing, tra­di­tional songs and a spec­tac­u­lar pa­rade in Trafal­gar Square. But cel­e­brat­ing all things Ir­ish needn’t be re­stricted to one day of the year in Lon­don be­cause in this city you’re never far from an au­then­tic Ir­ish pub, famed for friendly staff, hearty food and per­fectly poured pints of Guin­ness.

The first bar to serve ‘the black stuff’ (Guin­ness) out­side of Ire­land was The

Tip­per­ary in Fleet Street. The Grade II-listed build­ing is Lon­don’s old­est Ir­ish pub, built around 1605 with stones from a monastery which en­abled it to sur­vive the Great Fire of Lon­don in 1666. In ad­di­tion to the iconic stout, you’ll find more than a dozen Ir­ish whiskies to choose from. It’s small but quaint, the food is tasty and af­ford­able – and the mu­sic isn’t too loud (66 Fleet St, EC4Y 1HT).

Get lost in­side The Porter­house, which is a ver­i­ta­ble maze of a pub in the heart of Covent Gar­den. Span­ning 12 lev­els, it boasts ev­ery­thing a good Ir­ish pub should have: live mu­sic, af­ford­able, hearty Sun­day roasts and a huge selection of Ir­ish beers. The stout is hand­crafted in Ire­land and shipped over, so ex­pect an au­then­tic taste of the Emer­ald Isle. This is Ir­ish pub­bing at its most re­strained – no sham­rocks or nov­elty lep­rechauns here! (21-22 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA).

It might not look like much from the out­side, but The Tou­can off Soho Square is a cosy pub that man­ages to be tra­di­tion­ally Ir­ish and quintessen­tially Lon­don at the same time. Head here for a well-poured pint sur­rounded by Guin­ness-themed dé­cor, ac­com­pa­nied by a packet of Tay­tos (Ir­ish crisps). It can get very busy, par­tic­u­larly on a Fri­day night, but the out­side area is usu­ally heated, so you can stay warm un­der the stars if there’s no room in­side. Leg­end has it that rock icon Jimi Hen­drix once per­formed in the base­ment (19 Carlisle St, W1D 3BY).

The award for the most up­mar­ket Ir­ish pub must surely go to The Cow in Not­ting Hill, where you can or­der Guin­ness with a side of rock oys­ters. This used to be a pop­u­lar and in­ex­pen­sive com­bi­na­tion in 19th-cen­tury Ire­land; now it’s a bit more deca­dent. Try the beef and Guin­ness pie with spring greens and mash potato, and if you can re­sist a pint of the black nec­tar, there are worth­while wines to try (89 West­bourne Park Rd, W25 QH).

Clock­wise from this im­age: St Pa­trick’s Day cel­e­bra­tions; The Porter­house; a pint of Guin­ness Below: Ir­ish whiskey

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