Where to find the best Guinness in London – and how to spot a bad one

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Finding a decent pint of Guinness in London can often be a disappointing quest. Whether it’s the sour taste, the bitter aftertaste, or poorly poured pints in plastic cups with bubbly heads, many people agree that London is not the best place to enjoy a pint of Guinness. However, there are a few pubs in the city where you can be more or less guaranteed a scrumptious pint.

I must mention that I’m not an expert, although I’m a quarter Irish and have taken the Guinness factory tour in Dublin. I just really appreciate a good pint. So, I reached out to Ian Ryan, who runs an Instagram account dedicated to exposing the capital’s crimes against Guinness (@shitlondonguinness). He has a lot of insight into what makes a good pint and where to find it. In fact, he has a book coming out in October called “A Beautiful Pint: One man’s search for the perfect pint of Guinness.”

Before we dive into the pubs, let’s talk about what we’re looking for in a pint. The texture should be able to withstand the “tilt test,” meaning that if you slightly tip your glass to the side, the head shouldn’t start dripping down. It should rise just above the edge of the glass in a satisfying manner. As for the taste, Guinness should have a malty sweetness and bitter hoppiness, but it shouldn’t be too bitter or sour. It should be rich, creamy, and have slight aromas of coffee. If it tastes metallic, it’s best to steer clear. A good pint of Guinness also needs that signature creamy head, ideally domed and around three-quarters of an inch.

Now, let’s explore some of the pubs in London where you can find a fantastic pint of Guinness. The Auld Shillelagh is a favorite among die-hard Guinness fans. This unassuming Irish pub offers perfect pints of Guinness and even earned the title of “most authentic Irish pub in the world outside Ireland” by The Irish Times.

The Globe is another great option, offering pints of Guinness at affordable prices. This local’s pub is welcoming to newcomers and offers live sports, pool, darts, karaoke, and live music. The Coach and Horses, not far from Covent Garden, was voted the best Guinness in Britain by The Irish Post. They also serve hot roast beef sandwiches.

Gibney’s London is an Irish pub in the heart of Shoreditch that offers inventive small plates and chef Richard Corrigan’s Irish meats. On the other hand, The Cock Tavern near Euston is an unpretentious pub that prides itself on not being trendy. It’s described as an “oasis of humor, personality, and character” and delivers a great pint of Guinness.

The Sheephaven Bay in Camden is an “Irish bar with a conservatory, beer garden, and seven plasma screens for sports.” With its lively atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s easily the best place for a Guinness in Camden. Lastly, the Kenton Pub in Hackney is a Norwegian pub that stands out among the Irish-dominated pubs on this list. It offers a cozy atmosphere, occasional DJs, and fantastic staff who take pride in pouring a proper pint.

So, for those seeking a satisfying pint of Guinness in London, these pubs are worth checking out. Remember, it’s all about the texture, taste, head, and pour of the Guinness. And if you see bubbles in the head or walk into a pub where no one is drinking Guinness, it might be best to skip it. Cheers to finding your perfect pint!

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