Slap bang in the heart of the West End, barely a 100-metre walk from Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus and on the edge of London’s bustling Chinatown, Waxy O’Connor’s is perfectly located for everyone and anyone who is looking for a fun, busy and satisfying pub and restaurant. It’s a packed, exciting and noisy bar and a good place to start or end a visit to the vibrant centre of London.
Looking like any other generic, Irish-themed bar in any city in the world (apart from Dublin, obviously) from the outside, upon entering the bar via Rupert Street you’ll be surprised to find that Waxy O’Connors expands out into a labyrinthine warren of little areas and separate bars. The smaller areas open into larger areas, and then you find yourself walking down steps, up stairs, into smaller spaces and then larger areas, and it feels as if you’ve wandered into some Alice in Wonderland-style fantasy bar with a Celtic twist. There are many little areas of comfort and seating, with larger open spaces for dance floor activity.
The four bars do a roaring trade, and drinks never stop flowing. The management pride themselves upon serving up to 600 or 700 people at a time on a Friday. It’s almost like the greater the number, the greater the craic; which is as it should be in any Irish establishment. But, don’t let this put you off, as they stop the venue from getting too packed and it closes at midnight, so it’s more of a fun pub than a night club. Whether you want to stand at one of the four bars in the venue to have a drink, have a dance or to chat up the many fun-loving members of the opposite sex, all is perfectly possible. Or you can take a seat in one of the quieter, more secluded areas of this Irish-themed place and relax after a hard day’s shopping or a busy one at work.
The music is as wild and eclectic as the bar’s clientele and design: the frenetic Irish pop, rock and folk tunes are interspersed with sing-a-long music favourites and roof-raising power ballads. It’s as if a 90s-packed iPod is on shuffle. It’s sometimes too loud though, and Waxy’s may not be the best place to bring a first date, as you’ll be shouting in each other’s ears over the food you’ve ordered. Instead, Waxy O’Connor’s is a great location for a Friday night (or any night) out. It may not be a place to spend the entire evening, but to start a night off with a bang or to finish off a night on the town, you can’t go wrong.
You might not think of Waxy O’Connor’s as the place to go for food, as you may assume it is all about the craic, but the menu is quite large, and the traditional Irish and pub grub fare is surprisingly diverse. Portions are as full-on and hearty as the fun atmosphere of the place, and are large enough to conquer anyone’s appetite. Those with experience of holidays in Ireland will recognise large plates heavily laden with good, honest and simple food, sure to satisfy any hunger created by the dancing, the beer-drinking and the blarney you’ve been spouting ever since you walked in.
For starters, you might like to opt for an Irish-style seafood selection with either seafood chowder, oysters or smoked haddock fish cakes, or maybe a delicious and thick soup of the day, like the dense and hearty tomato and basil. The sharing platters are good and tasty fun for you and your friends to dive into. There is also a nice range of sandwiches available – in the form of artisan baguettes, no less, and served with chips – with fillings like gammon and cheddar, bacon and brie, and steak and stilton. Main courses again feature the Irish pub fare motif, with mussels, Irish sirloin steak in a rich peppercorn sauce, a large and impressive fillet of haddock in Caffrey’s beer batter with chips or a steak and Guinness pie. You’ll certainly get your money’s worth considering the portion sizes, especially given that you’re in the very centre of the West End.
If it’s bar drinks you’re after, you won’t miss out on your favourites as Waxy’s caters for all tastes with an impressive array of popular beers, lagers and ciders. With its four different bars, you’ll always be served swiftly and with style, too. There’s also a fair selection of wines, and it’s quite likely you’ll see a group of friends sharing a nice bottle of wine or something bubbly from the Champagne menu. The drinks selection ensures that you and your pals will have plenty of popular drinks to choose from at whatever stage in your evening itinerary.
The Last Word
Waxy O’Connor’s is a fun-filled, boisterous and often very busy bar with an intriguing layout and interior. Look beyond the craic, and there’s hearty and good value pub food to peruse, too, in such close vicinity to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Just so long as you can stomach a power ballad or two.