‘Wi’ tippeny, we fear nae evil;
W’ usquabae, we’ll face the Devil!’
Or, going away from the original Scots:
‘With ale, we fear no evil;
With whisky, we’ll face the Devil!’
“Tam o’ Shanter”, March 1791
As you can see, our dear old Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire (that’s by Arran, for you whisky fans), was well ahead of his time by giving sound advice for the ages! To celebrate Burns’ poems and wisdom, people UK-wide have dedicated a night in his honour. This happens to fall on Robert Burns’ birthday, 25th January. That’s Wednesday 25th January 2017, for those of you who like up-to-date information.
Anyone who’s not staying away from the meat, alcohol and bagpipes this January will likely stand up for the haggis when it enters the room and take a dram of Scotch as the bagpipes play. Robert Burns with his wonderful foresight, coined a poem for this event, too, conveniently named “Address to a Haggis”, which is recited before Burns Supper starts.
Here are a few things going on during Burns Night that you may be interested in doing or attending …
Boisdale of Canary Wharf
Address: Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT
Perhaps the most Scottish place in the UK south of Scotland. There are mounted stag heads, a tartan carpet and oodles of whiskeys to try. For Burns Night, Boisdale has a haggis-heavy four-course meal and a house band doing some covers of well-known pop songs (as well as the occasional Scottish diddy) for Burns Night. There’s even a terrace for cigar smokers to try their whisky with.
Bourne & Hollingsworth Burns Night Party
Address: 42 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HU
When they’re not throwing Prohibition and Dark Circus parties, B&H is putting on banquets and five-course dinners in a town- and greenhouse setting. Burns Night is no different, and there are an array of ticket types, including: whisky tasting, five course dinner, five course dinner + drinks, five course dinner + premium whisky and the ever-popular whisky tasting and banquet. There will, of course, be lots of bagpipes and the traditional haggis address.
Burns Night at Mr. Fogg’s Residence & Tavern
Date: 25/01/2017 –
Address: 15 Bruton Lane Mayfair, London W1J 6JD (Residence); 58 St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4EA (Tavern)
Phileas Fogg and his team take Burns Night very seriously indeed. Staff are required to cast off their military-style uniforms and don kilts, and guests must stand up and toast the haggis when it appears. Guests are also encouraged to suit up in Scottish-style regalia. Several of Burns’ poems will also be recited. Glenfiddich 15 year old and 18 year old will also be served to guests alongside haggis-based canapés.
Folk of the Wood’s Burns Night Ceilidh
Address: The Portico Gallery, 23A Knights Hill, London SE27 0HS
Want to get away from all the sit-down suppers? Do you prefer a little revelry? Want to overcome the January blues with a little partying? Then go on down to the Portico Gallery for a raucous night of Stripping the Willow (i.e. dancing), where London’s finest ceilidh band, Ceilidh Tree, will be playing. There will also be lots of mulled wine, whisky, scrumpy and ale to warm the cockles.
Ceilidh Club’s Burns Night in London
Dates: 20/01/2017, 21/01/2017, 27/01/2017
Address: Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street, London W6 9JU
The Ceilidh Club’s celebrations are much-loved by all those who attend – and it’s not hard to see why! Lots of dancing and merrymaking is the main theme here, and the events tend to sell out quickly. You’ll get taught some of the steps, too!
Whatever you end up doing on Burns Night (or the weekend before/after 25/01/2017), rest assured you’ll be getting lots of bagpipes and happy jigging – and possibly even a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” for those who somehow missed new years!