The name Ian Ryan may not ring any bells.
But his Instagram account, Shit London Guinness (@shitlondonguinness), will be familiar to many up and down the country – particularly those partial to a pint of the black stuff.
Ian, originally from Cork, has made a name for his account over the past few years by sharing some of the worst pints of Guinness around – amassing a loyal following of more than 233,000.
And, due to a recent surge in popularity – with Guinness scooping the title of Britain’s most popular pint – it’s clear he’s got the nation in the palm of his hands.
But Ian admits the Irish stout hasn’t always been his drink of choice.
‘I didn’t always drink Guinness, to be honest with you,’ the @shitlondonguinness creator tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Funnily enough, I started drinking Guinness after I moved from Ireland to London, around five years ago.
‘It could have been a subconscious thing reminding me of my home situation, when I first left. It could have been that – or that I always thought of it as a bit of an old man drink when I was growing up.
‘I think over the last five years it’s become more popular – and once you’ve had a taste for it, it becomes your drink.’
Since the launch of @shitlondonguinness in November 2019, it’s safe to say that Ian’s sampled a fair few awful pints – although admits he’s never sent one back.
He explains: ‘A terrible pint is when there’s too much head, or no head, or if the glass is dirty, so you can see the stains on the side of it.
‘Also, if there are bubbles and stuff, you get that weird ice cream-type look. And it’s bad if it’s in some mad glass – like a Rekorderlig one or something.
‘I think a certain person has it in them to send back a pint and I’m just not that person. I’m not confrontational. I just take a picture and use it for content instead.
‘I would rather secretly drop a pint than take it back.’
So what makes a perfect pint of Guinness?
Ian says it’s all about coming from the taps and it must be served in clean glassware. What’s more, it’s best to order it in a Guinness pub.
He explains: ‘Sometimes, if it’s a pub that doesn’t sell a whole lot of Guinness, then it sits around for a bit and tastes a bit odd – it’s just sitting there for ages. That’s why Guinness pubs are best.’
With St Patrick’s Day fast-approaching, there’s never been a better time to grab a Guinness – whether you’re a long-time lover of the beverage, or are tempted to try it for the first time.
But Ian has done the hard work for us – by sampling the good, the bad, and the ugly around the UK, to form a list of his favourite Guinness spots.
He’s rounded up some of his top places for St Patrick’s Day and beyond – although, Ian does usher a word of warning.
He explains: ‘I do find with St Patrick’s Day, it’s better to stick to what you know with Guinness, like going to your local – so you can get preferential treatment over the thousands of people who are in there.’
If you’re wondering where the top spots are for Guinness, these are the ones backed by the expert himself.
1. Gravediggers, Dublin
‘That’s probably the best pint of Guinness, for me, in the world,’ says Ian.
‘I was there a year-and-a-half ago with a couple of friends, just after Covid restrictions stopped and you could go and sit inside and we had a great night.
‘It’s just a really, really historic pub.’
2. Sheephaven Bay, Camden
Ian says: ‘One of the best Guinness pints in London. They are so nice in there, it’s a really nice Irish pub, with a lot of sports on.
‘It’s a nice mixture of locals and people who are in search of Guinness. We go there quite a bit.’
3 Gibney’s, Old Street
‘They have good pints in here – and it has a sister one in Dublin,’ adds Ian.
4, O’ Sullivans Bar, West Cork
‘This is a really nice pint as well, and it’s definitely one for the summer. It has a really nice outdoor seating area,’ adds Ian.
5. The Auld Shillelagh, Stoke Newington
Love @shitlondonguiness? Ian sells his own merch now too.
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