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The best Irish pubs for St. Patrick’s Day in Britain

1 March 2019 | Updated 10 March 20235 min read

Group of friends drinking and toasting beer with pint glasses in focus

Whether you’re actually Irish, pretending to be Irish or just fancy sinking several pints of Guinness in a green hat, St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse for a party.

If you’re not lucky enough to be in Ireland on the day, we’ve rounded up some of the best Irish pubs in Britain where you can raise a glass to St. Paddy this year.

So, in the words of Oscar Wilde: “Let’s knock a couple back and make some noise!”

The Auld Shillelagh – London

If you’re in London and want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, head to The Auld Shillelagh in Stoke Newington. Voted the best Irish pub in the world outside of the Emerald Isle by the Irish Times, the pub’s Guinness-pouring credentials and mighty craic are second to none.

Fiddles and folk music are common, but the star draw for the Shillelagh is its laidback, welcoming atmosphere. It’s this feature, according to Time Out London, that makes the pub an authentic Irish pub and not just another Irish ‘themed pub’ – the difference is crucial.

The Grapes – Sheffield

When the Irish Times likens a pub to “a wee corner of Ireland”, you know you’ve found somewhere authentic. The Grapes is in the heart of the Irish community in Sheffield, complete with JFK memorabilia, Irish language lessons and a great pint of Guinness (what else?).

With a stellar reputation for live music – the Arctic Monkeys played their first gig here – and for celebrating Irish culture, it’s fair to say a St. Paddy’s Day party here will not be a quiet one!

Mulligans – Manchester

Mulligans goes all out for St. Patrick’s Day, with plenty of live sport, traditional Irish music and, of course, plenty of Guinness on the cards this year.

As the self-proclaimed “home of great Guinness” in Manchester, there's no better place to be on Paddy’s Day, so why not pop in for a pint of the black stuff if you’re out and about. You’ll be sure of a warm welcome – a hundred thousand welcomes, in fact, or céad míle fáilte!

The Flanagan’s Apple – Liverpool

If ever there was a British city with a legitimate claim to being Irish, it’s Liverpool – 75% of Liverpudlians are said to have some Irish ancestry, so you’d expect to be able to find a decent Irish pub.

The Flanagan’s Apple – complete with resident ghost – is one of the city’s best-loved pubs, with three floors of live music, real ale and Irish food to enjoy.

Credit: Zigzag Images/Alamy

Seamus O’Donnell’s – Bristol

Seamus O’Donnell’s operates by a simple mantra: “you can’t take it with you, so you may as well drink it now”.

Besides Guinness, Bristol’s original Irish bar stocks a large array of Irish whiskeys, and, if you’re feeling particularly brave this Paddy’s Day, there’s also ‘Poteen’ (pronounced pucheen) – a 70% ABV triple distilled spirit that’s so strong, it’s limited to one shot per person

Biddy Mulligan’s – Edinburgh

The good times continue late into the night at Biddy Mulligan’s, a traditional Irish bar at the heart of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh packed with Gaelic charm.

Expect live sport, well-poured Guinness and a wide range of Irish whiskeys, live music, and a friendly atmosphere to set the tone for a top St. Paddy’s Day north of the border.

The Faltering Fullback – London

A North London institution, The Faltering Fullback is not an in-your-face Irish pub. Instead expect Gaelic football on the telly and a warm welcome.

The best part of the Fullback is not its connection to the Emerald Isle, however; it’s the roof-terrace beer garden at the back of the pub. Hidden snugs and hideaways cover two floors, and it’s sure to be packed come Paddy’s Day.

Credit: Richard Splash/Alamy

Raglan Road Irish Bar – Nottingham

Named after a famous poem by Patrick Kavanagh, Raglan Road Irish Bar is as Irish as they come, but with a bit of a twist – part of the pub interior is built into a cave.

Raglan Road has a reputation for throwing parties that go on late, so expect Paddy’s Day to be a big one in Nottingham.

The Fiddler’s Elbow – Brighton

Said to serve the best Guinness in Brighton, The Fiddler’s Elbow is the place to be in the city come March 17.

Enjoy several craic-filled days of events in honour of St Paddy including The Fiddler's annual almighty street party taking place on March 18 this year. There’ll be Irish music and dancing, traditional food, plenty of Guinness and more shenanigans than you can shake a shillelagh at. Try saying that after a few pints of the black stuff.

O'Neill's – Cardiff

Located on St Mary Street in the city centre, chain pub O'Neill's might be a familiar name but as Cardiff's original Irish bar, it's still got something going for it.

Whether you're popping in for a few rounds, a cosy meal or going all out joining in the St Paddy's celebrations, you can expect good live music and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Oh, and, of course, plenty of Guinness!

*Some of these images are general and not representative of the pubs themselves.

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