Waxy O'Connor's
14-16 Rupert Street
Westminster W1D 6DD
I’d just like to say one thing: PUB CHIPS. I love chips, but rarely eat them. First because they make me sick 90% of the time, second because I have too high expectations. They need to be thick, with a crunchy, salty skin and a soft, steaming centre. Which is not what you usually get from the average pub. Waxy O’Connor is a pub. Not a gastropub, just a pub. The fact that it advertises itself as an “Official London Irish Pub” means nothing. They call the cabbage Colcannon; mention Guinness here and there, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the usual Nachos (how Irish!), bangers & mash, and fish & chips with soggy chips and greasy cod. What really upsets me about bad chips though, is my inability to stay away from them regardless. I go back to the plate once, twice, ten times. Wash all down with beer (mistake with bad chips) or wine (even bigger mistake) and then complain because I feel sick, heavy and unhappy. With this in mind, I tried to be smart, only shared Nachos with Edo, and had some vegetables, too. He had a meat pie. “Good luck to you” – I thought. The Nachos were good and apparently the pie, too. But then, inexplicable and sudden, the “pub chips syndrome” got hold of me. Since I had no chips, no wine and no beer I guess I can only blame the chips’ “aroma” in the air. Or my stomach for being a Sissy. Edo seemed OK so I accepted the fact that the problem is in fact ME and not the chips. Until, half way between the pub and the bus stop (10 steps I total!) he turned around and confessed: “I feel a little…heavy”. Enough said.
As for the ambience, there is no better description than the one on the website: “A labyrinth of 4 bars on 6 levels, linked together by a maze of staircases and passages”. A sort of theme-park setting, quite amusing in its way, but there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Waxy O’Connor that makes me want to go back. Irish case, filed.

  • Food: 2
    • Ambience: 2.5
    • Service: 2
    • Value: 2
    • Overall: 2.12
I call it Disneyland effect. It’s what happens when a restaurant, hotel, venue of any sort is cash-rich enough to invest in looking good, yet such a target of mass tourism that the money only goes to make every aspect of it naff, cliché, over the top, banal. This is the main negative about Waxy O’Connor’s: it looks great, it looks fabulous actually, but so perfectly predictable and stereotypical it feels like one of the countries at Epcot Center. It’s a combination of the location, right in the middle of the tourist-trap area, and a theme, that of the Irish pub, that’s been used and abused for centuries.

The pub is located in that part of London surrounded by Soho to the North, Covent Garden to the East, St James’s to the West, Whitehall to the South, yet really part of none of them. It doesn't really have a name. Every part of London has a name, except this crossroads of tourists, gift shops, bad food, noise, traffic, and things unrefined, situated just in the middle of it, squashed between Trafalgar Square and Shaftesbury Avenue. What should I call the area. . . Leicester Square perhaps? That’s not a quarter. I digress. It was crowded, service was swift yet brusque, but hey, it’s a pub, I am not sure that can even be judged.

Food was significantly lower quality than what you get in the average pub. It wasn’t Irish, except for a couple of staples put into the menu to keep true to the theme. I had nachos, which were good, a shepherd’s pie, which was edible, and a Guinness, which was great (but that’s great everywhere).

In hindsight, we would have been better off had we chosen somewhere less central and perhaps more genuine. With such an abundance of choice, I am not sure we picked the best example of what we were looking for.

  • Food: 2.5
    • Ambience: 3
    • Service: 2
    • Value: 2
    • Overall: 2.37