What is the craic? There are over 175,000 * people who categorize themselves as Irish living in London, and many of them enjoy listening to traditional Irish music. Fortunately, many London pubs have Irish sessions every week. Here are some of the best.
* In the 2011 census.
The Auld Shillelagh in Stoke Newington has already won the award for the best Irish pub in the world (excluding Ireland) according to the Irish Times. So it’s no surprise that they feature traditional Irish music, alongside (supposedly) England’s best pints of Guinness. If that’s not enough to tempt you, consider this: Irish music legend Shane Macgowan is a fan of the pub. Plus, they have Taytos.
105 Stoke Street Newington Church, N16 0UD
Sir Colin Campbell
Kilburn was once the hub of all things Irish in London, and although today’s immigrants from the Emerald Isle tend to head south-west London, rather than north- west, the region still retains some of its ancient heritage. One pub that keeps Irish memories alive is Sir Colin Campbell. Unlike many other Irish pubs which have traditional tunes once a week, the music comes from Sir Colin three times a week. There are over 40 beers on offer here, so if you want something a little more adventurous to go with the music than a Guinness then that’s a good cry.
224-226 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2BY
The hop pole
It’s south of the river that many Irish residents park today, so it’s fitting that we highlight a few Irish music sessions in this part of town. The Hop Pole is all about sports – yes they show the GAA – Wandsworth joint, but on Sunday evenings Irish music kicks in. A little unusual, while your ears revel in pipes and banjos, let your stomach go. being busy with the pub’s selection of Thai food.
64 Putney Bridge Road, SW18 1HR
At Londonist, we love Antic pubs, and The Antelope in Tooting features Irish music every Sunday afternoon. This is the perfect option if you’re looking for something that doesn’t stretch late into the night – it’s 3pm to 5pm. Tooting is officially one of the coolest places on the planet, so what better place to listen to bouzouki, pipes and banjo?
76 Mitcham Road, SW17 9NG
Holloway Road is another classic Irish haunt in London, which isn’t as green as it used to be. However, at the end of Highbury Street there is a conclave of lively pubs worth a visit. Among them is The Lamb, where pints are tasted in beautiful mood lighting. The perfect mood is heightened on Tuesday evenings when Wraggle Taggle – led by Mick O’Connor – plays traditional Irish folk songs.
54 Holloway Road, N7 8JL
Camden completes the trio of Irish venues in North London, and if you want Irish music without the pub setting, then the nearby London Irish Center is a must. However, if you want the atmosphere – and the beers – of a pub then The Colonel Fawcett is a good shout out, offering both traditional Irish songs and more pop offerings, every Thursday night.
1 Randolph Street, NW1 0SS
Blythe Hill Tavern
The CAMRA award-winning Blythe Hill Tavern is a favorite with the people of Forest Hill. Late Thursday, Irish musicians take over. They sit in a cozy part of the pub called the snug, and Guinness memorabilia line the walls above their heads. This one has a real sense of community, just like Irish music should.
319, chemin Stanstead, SE23 1JB
There are a lot more traditional Irish music nights in pubs – check out these listings – or shout out your favorite in the comments below.