Ah, St Patrick’s Day. No other nation’s festival is celebrated to quite the tasteless, drunken extent that is permitted on 17th March and, between you and me, Listers, I. Love. It. Whether you’re all about honouring your Irish roots, enjoy a bit of live ‘diddle-de-dee’ traditional music, or simply can’t resist the excuse for a Guinness at 8am, here’s what you should be doing with yourself—whether on the day itself or during the weekend before—to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Melbourne.
Learn to Irish Dance
Melbourne Irish Festival, Sunday 15th March
Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy North
Because who doesn’t want to be in Riverdance?! While the Melbourne Irish Festival will feature Irish dancing workshops throughout the day, there will also be heaps of great live music, Gaelic football, face painting, children’s activities and more—ideal if you’re planning on heading along with a group.
Tuck into a Big Irish Breakfast
P. J. O’Briens, Tuesday 17th March
Start the day as St Patrick intended: with a mountain of pan-fried potato-based food and a pint of stout at P.J. O'Brien's Irish pub in Southgate.
Watch Ireland Vs. Wales in the Six Nations Rugby Tournament
The Celtic Club, 1.30am, Sunday 15th March
Do you love St Patrick’s Day enough to watch the entirety of a rugby match that kicks off at 1.30am on a Sunday morning? No, I didn’t think so. This place also does Tayto crisps (a.k.a. the best cheese and onion potato chips in the world) and has shamrock print carpet on its upstairs levels, so you know it’s the real deal.
Drink a Guinness
The Standard Hotel
If you’re looking for a decent pint o’ the black stuff this St Patrick’s Day in Melbourne, hidden Fitzroy pub, The Standard Hotel, pull one of the best in the city. It’s also got a great outdoor area and does some cracking (although not really Irish) food. An excellent choice if you’re keen to avoid crowds of revellers wearing green tinsel wigs.
Drink another Guinness
The Last Jar
The Last Jar not only pours some of the best Guinness in Melbourne (and yes, there is a difference), it also serves some delicious Irish fare including home-made soda bread, whiskey cured salmon, traditional Irish stew, and potato sandwiches (we kid you not). One for the St Pat’s day foodies!
Drink yet more Guinness
The Drunken Poet
These guys love Guinness so much that their emblem features a pint of the world famous stout. Another traditional Melbourne Irish pub that’s guaranteed to be more about the conversational craic and less about playing Be*witched’s ‘C’est La Vie’ on repeat all night.
Guinness…Guinness all the time!
The Corkman not only pours an excellent Guinness, it also keeps Irish ciders (which it mulls with cinnamon in the winter) and is home to a fantastic live Irish traditional music session. The perfect start to the evening before heading on to the event below…
Street Party in the North
The Dan O’Connell Pub
If you haven’t spent St Patrick’s Day in Melbourne at the Dan O’Connell, you haven’t lived. This party is a major operation, which involves the closure of several streets in the area and the installation of a giant temporary stage and sound-system. Not for the feint-hearted, if you plan on making it to this St Patrick’s Day street party, you’d better have booked the next day off work.
Street Party in the North (Again)
St Patrick’s Day Outdoor Street Festival, Tuesday 17th March
The Quiet Man, Flemington
If the Dan O’Connell’s event sounds a bit OTT but you still feel like an open-air boogie, head to The Quiet Man Irish pub’s street festival—another great outdoor event that promises live Melbourne-Irish musical acts, traditional dishes, and a lot of emerald fun.
Get Lairy at Bridie O’Reiley’s
Brunswick and South Yarra
Get your whiskey on and forget your name, your address, your wallet and why you’re even celebrating St Patrick’s Day at one of Bridie O’Reiley’s two infamous watering holes. Both will be serving green beer with extra Irish charm until 3am on 17th March. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Stay at home with a bottle of Jameson and watch Riverdance excerpts on YouTube
Tried and tested, I’ve spent many a St Patrick’s Day eve doing this with great success. Albeit, I have also woken up to find out I’ve purchased various useful items from eBay, including a ludicrously expensive dried-out sprig of four leaf clover and an Irish dancing dress that was a size 12 years and not a women’s dress size 12, but hey, can’t win them all.
Have fun whatever you’re doing this St Patrick’s Day in Melbourne. Sláinte!
Image credit: Brunch News