‘Best Irish Pub in the World’ competition entry: The Drunken Poet, Melbourne

‘If you were to plonk it down in any town in Ireland it would do well’

The Irish Times' Generation Emigration project is on the hunt for the best Irish pub in the world outside Ireland. The following is one of the nominations. To read more click here.

I've fascination with Irish pubs which I cannot explain. I've drank in them From Boston to Saigon. I'm not an expert but I've seen my fare share. Sure, they are plastic and cheesy, they are sometimes only notionally Irish and are often not even much fun. But they all serve drink and all have a bar and often they are the only place around where a man can get a pint of porter.

The best I’ve been to is probably the Drunken Poet by the Victoria Markets in Melbourne. It isn’t twee, and it does have a great atmosphere. Simply, if you were to plonk it down in any town in Ireland it would do well. The place finds the right mix of the ingredients that make Irish drinking culture so appealing. It has an intellectual tinge (being a location for book launches and poetry readings), has great music (contemporary and trad) and is a good place to meet new people. It is simply fun.

It isn't a big place which adds to its charm, though it does get a crowd on a Friday night. Go there and you will never be sure who you'll meet. A builder from Navan, a old Dublin work colleague you hadn't seen in 10 years and didn't know had emigrated, or maybe a programmer from California who plays the fiddle as well as any person from Clare.


It gets backpackers but not as many as the big Irish places nearer to town or St Kilda so its mostly settled Irish. Of course its also popular with Australians. I’ve moved back to Ireland some years ago. I still miss it!