Get Craic’in: The best Irish Pubs in Melbourne this St Patrick’s Day

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Saturday looms large for anyone with a love of the Irish and what’s more Irish than toasting Eire’s patron saint and chief snake eradicator, St Patrick, with a pint of the dark goodness that is Guinness.

Yep, it’s old mate’s day on March 17 and to help you get the best craic going, GRAM chats to none other than Domhnall (Don) Marnell, Global Guinness Brand Ambassador, for what he reckons are the top five places in Melbourne to get your Irish on. And if you just can’t people and prefer to cupboard in your green finery at home with your clan, then grab some of the brewing giant’s latest beer elixir: Hop House 13 Lager, a full-flavoured lager with a sweet fruity aroma, available in bottle format at Dan Murphy’s, Liquor Land, Vintage Cellars and selected independent retailers.

So read on and find out Melb’s top five Irish pubs this St Patrick’s Day and how to make sure you’re getting the perfect pint of the black stuff every single time.

GRAM: What is the perfect way to drink Guinness?

DON: If you follow these steps you’ll be enjoying the perfect pint of Guinness is no time (well just over 119 seconds to be exact):

1) Wait for the bartender to properly pour the perfect pint of Guinness in a Guinness-branded glass. They will fill it roughly four-fifths of the way, which is at the top of the Golden Guinness harp and let the beer settle before your very eyes.

2) Wait for the surge, which is the most picturesque part of any beer pour and you’ll be witness to 30 million nitrogen bubbles forming together into one unit at the top of the beer. This process can only be achieved by time, but the best things in life come to those who wait.

3) Your Guinness will then be ‘topped off’ until the foam is just peaking above the rim of the glass, without spilling a single precious drop

4) Bring your shoulders back in preparation

5) With a pint of Guinness in hand, raise your arm up to your mouth

6) Take a big mouthful making sure to fully taste the beer by getting under the foam at the top which should result in a Guinness Tache on your upper lip – sláinte!

(And if you upload a photo of your best #GuinnessTache to Guinness social media pages, you’ll be in the running to win $1000 every day in the lead up to St Pat’s Day with the winners notified daily. Up until the 18th March, so get in quick).

GRAM: What are your top five places in Melbourne to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and why?

DON: All the pubs and accounts I’ve been lucky enough to visit while in Melbourne that serve Guinness would be perfect to celebrate St Pat’s Day. You can find all the best Guinness serving pubs in Melbourne (and Australia) by heading here.

But my top five, in no particular order would have to be:

1) PJ O’Brien’s Irish Pub (G14 / 15 / 16/3 Southgate Ave, Southbank VIC 3006) A true Irish pub brimming with good Irish lasses and lads, PJ’s is a little slice of Dublin here in Australia where you’re guaranteed a perfect pint and cracking banter to boot – it’s like Christmas (or the more relevant St Pat’s Day) came early and is a must to visit come the 17th of March!

​As always, P.J’S will be serving up the most authentic St Patrick’s Day experience with over 3,000 people expected to attend between Friday and Sunday, as the celebrations ​carry on right throughout the weekend. On Saturday 17 March, the main event will kick off from 9am with a traditional St Patrick’s Day Breakfast prepared by P.J.O’Brien’s new Head Chef Kevin McLaughlin (The Windsor Alehouse, The Deck), with traditional Irish cocktails being shaken and served throughout the day. P.J.’s expect over 500 breakfasts to be served and over 8000 pints of Guinness to be poured across the weekend.

2) Dan O’Connell Hotel (225 Canning St, Carlton VIC 3053) With the traditional Irish grub on offer good enough for you to forgive anybody, even your own relatives, the Dan has everything you could want and more, including a great pint of Guinness. The Dan is set to host a special event on St Pat’s with breakfast starting at 7am.

3) The Irish Times Pub (427 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000) They say there are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were. Swing on by The Irish Times Pub on St Pat’s and you’ll be as Irish as they come. Don’t forget to have a go at their bang-on Guinness Pie.

4) Turf Sports Bar Melbourne (131 Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000) A traditional pub that is also one of Melbourne’s best places to watch live sport. You might be lucky enough to be treated to a game of Gaelic football on St Pat’s Day. And if I can get the gist of AFL, you’ll surely get the hang of hurling in no time.

5) The Napier Hotel (210 Napier St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) Steeped in history, this cosy corner pub has roots dating back to 1866 (107 years after Guinness was established in 1759). It’s likely to be ‘jammers’ come St Pat’s Day and is not to be missed if you’re a local or not.

Gram Magazine

GRAM is a monthly print/digital magazine of how a city experiences all things food and drink. It does away with traditional magazine formulas, offering instead a snapshot of articles, opinions and reviews, published online by local food bloggers. It has been created to give its readers access to varied, unbiased and unedited opinions about eating and drinking throughout the city, from independent and local sources.