Robert Burns: The national poet of Scotland.
Burns Night: an evening in which you pretend to have read Robert Burns …while not-at-all pretending to feast on whisky, haggis, neeps, tatties and other puritanically decadent Northern delights.
These Burns Nights: the very best in London (and, probably, outside of Scotland) for 2017, including sofa-sized haggises, whisky ice-cream, booze tastings, Highland games, bagpipe renditions, hours of ceilidh dancing, and more…
Mac & Wild
Mac & Wild are one of the few actual, real-life, proudly Scottish restaurants in London. Which means that they take it upon themselves to teach the rest of us how to Burns Night correctly, via a pair of masterclasses: a haggis making experience at their newly minted Liverpool Street branch, and a whisky & beer pairing evening at their original Fitzrovia joint. And, of course, you can hit either of their branches on the night in question for a BN feast of venison wellington.
Details: 23rd & 24th January | Mac & Wild Fitzrovia, W1W 7PS & Liverpool Street, EC2M 4YN | £40 / £45
Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar
If Robert Burns were alive today, it’s more than a little likely that he would approve of the haggis nuggets that the Hawksmoor Bar in Spitalfields will be serving up this Burns Night. Thanks in no small part to the vast amount of whisky cocktails they’re serving alongside them.
Details: 25th January | Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar, 157 Commercial Street, E1 6BJ | Free Entry
The Ceilidh Club
For the Ceilidh Club Burns Night is all about ceilidh. Crazy, huh? And given that they generally try to pull out all the stops anyway, to make this most sacred evening all the better they’re basically flinging the stops across the room. There’ll be a live band, a caller, an addressing of the haggis, and – surprise – some haggis (plus neeps & tatties).
Details: 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th, Jan and the 3rd and 4th Feb | Hammersmith Town Hall, W6 9JU | £34.50
You’re probably wondering where the hell all of the bagpipe performances on this list are. Well, good news. They’re here. Because Mr Fogg’s are bussing in a professional piper, and serving up some haggis canapés, and a little 15/18 yo Glenfiddich whisky to make it all the more bearable. Staff will all be wearing kilts, and there will be a recitation of some of Rabbie Burns’ best works over the evening.
Details: 25th January | Mr Foggs Residence, 15 Bruton Ln, W1J 6JD
The Lady Ottoline
Putting the ‘aye’ back in Ottoline, this Burns Night will see live bagpipes all evening, special Burns Night cocktails, an addressing of the haggis, and all the traditional food plus a little whisky ice cream thrown in there for good measure.
Details: 25th January | The Lady Ottoline, 11a Northington Street, WC1N 2JF | £45
Burns Baby, Burns
Prepare for a first degree Burns night thanks to the folks at BBB, who’re going full, 100% tartan with a giant haggis (seriously, it’s the size of a small sofa), twirling fire poles, banqueting tables, thundersome ceilidh, and poetry in a stunning church venue.
Details: 26th-28th January | St John At Hackney Church, Lower Clapton Road, E5 0PD | £38.50 – £60.50
B&H Burns Night party
There’s nothing quite as quintessentially English as celebrating another culture’s national day slightly more fervently than your own. You know, just so they don’t feel bad and such. Which explains why the fine chaps at Bourne & Hollisgsworth are putting on a Burns Night party, complete with a whisky tasting session, a five-course banquet, the addressing of the haggis, The Selkirk Grace, and live ceilidh dancing.
Details: 25th January | Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HU | £25-£110
Burns Night Ceilidh at the Battersea Arts Club
If putting on a great Burns Night is a crime, then the people at the Battersea Arts Centre are kilty as charged. Because they’ll be honouring the Rabbie with a fairy-lit feast of haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by a raucous ceilidh-calling hoedown from Fiddle Paradiddle into the wee hours.
Details: 20th January | Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN | £30 (incl. dinner)
KERB and Monkey Shoulder Present Burns Hootenanny
We don’t follow tradition. Neither did our fathers, or their fathers before them. Thankfully however, there are those who do. Like the people at KERB, who’re teaming up with Monkey Shoulder whisky to throw what might well be the greatest Burns Night outside of Scotland, ever. It will involve Scottish-style street food, three bars, live music, Highland-themed games (like corn hole, sheep shearing, and Donald Trump’s crazy golf course), a poetry slam corner, and you if you have any sense.
Details: 27th & 28th January | The Biscuit Factory, 100 Clements Road, SE16 4DG | £20-£42
The Merchant’s Tavern
Plying you with both classic classic Scottish fare (Cullen Skink, smoked grouse) and modern classic Scottish fare (deep fried Mars bars), The Merchant’s Tavern will help you wash it all down with a Scottish whisky flight and some music by their DJ.
Details: 25th January | 36 Charlotte Rd, EC2A 3PG | £45
The Sun Tavern
Scotland might never see the sun, but The Sun is seeing a little bit of Scotland, in the form of special Burns Night cocktails, haggis scotch eggs, and an addressing of the haggis. Scotch egg.
Details: 25th January | 44 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN
Both Hix Soho & Hix Oyster & Chop House are putting on a Scottish feast with a little of their characteristic fine-dining flair throw in for good measure. Expect Cullen Skink with a crispy Burford Brown egg, a hefty rack of Speyside red deer with haggis roly-poly, bashed neeps, and whisky sauce, then a Yorkshire rhubarb cranachan to finish. Oh, and whisky & oatmeal cocktails.
Details: 25th January | Hix Soho, W1F 9UP & Hix Oyster and Chop House, EC1M 6BN | £35
Like Scottish food? And if not, don’t be so judgmental, it’s delicious. Here’s a restaurant that proves it.