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While much attention is given to beer gardens, in a town like Melbourne, it's equally as important to rate pubs that are ideally suited to sheltering from the rain. Here are our Top 5, taken from our 2014 Top 50 pubs in Melbourne list!
Number 1: Sherlock Holmes Inn
You won't even know it's raining because there are no windows.
At the start of our 2014 countdown, we discussed the criteria of how we choose our list, with one of the things we really liked being family owned and operated. For the last seven years, husband and wife team Gary and Melanie Kirwan have been commuting from Macedon offering a real pub experience within a busy CBD. Being underground with no windows, it’s a snugly hovel in the winter, and with limited phone reception, a great respite from the world. Their trivia on Tuesdays is the city’s best we think as well.
Beers: 18 taps with some local craft types and some UK ales.
Food: Hearty English Food. Bangers and mash is our go to dish.
Specials: Parma and Pint deals on Wednesdays is a keeper.
Date Place: For a winter lunch, yep.
Number 2: The Last Jar
The best comfort food in Melbourne we say.
We are huge fans of Irish pubs here at THH, but aren't faux Irish food supposed to be stews, bangers and weird variations of our own parma? Well not here. Owner Siobhan (of Drunken Poet fame), raises the culinary bar to such heights that the Last Jar is now considered one of Victoria's premier gastro pubs. That doesn't mean it's expensive (most meals around $20) or you can't just go there and have a few pints (try the snug room), it's just a comfy pub that does food very very very well.
Number 3: Grace Darling Hotel
Always busy, and a tram stop out the front so you won't get wet.
There is no other pub in Melbourne that twists our emotions as much as the Grace Darling. You could call it a love/hate relationship because we used to love it and then we hated it for no other reason in that it changed. You see it used to be pretty grimy and old-school. That kind of place elderly gentlemen who like a beer frequent most hours. We liked it. Then it changed and the hipsters moved in. At first we refused to go there but sometimes a band we wanted to see was playing there so we went. We admitted it did have a good band room. Then we ate there. We admitted the burger was top quality. Then we found out the happy hour and basically we go there on a weekly basis. It won us over very slowly but now it's one of our "locals". At least once a week. Kudos for not changing specials too much too.
Beer Garden: Has one on the corner of peel street. Nice vantage point to watch passers by.
Food: High quality pub fare. See menu here.
Music: Lots of it. Great music venue including an intimate little basement.
First Date: 9/10 - Women really seem to love this place judging by the demographics.
Specials: Some of the best in town. See here.
Number 4: The Royston
A snugly favourite. Craft beers and good pub grub. Stay a few days if you can.
The Royston was one of Melbourne's pioneers in providing quality Victorian craft beer to the public. In fact after 2.5 years overseas, this was the first pub I visited when I returned, as an avenue to get up to speed. Despite its out of the way location, you'll regularly find the place almost full, such is the standard of beer and food on offer. The Wednesday night trivia has to be one of the city's best and most popular as well. Note: The Mountain Goat Brewery is across the road and open on Wednesdays and Fridays after work.
Beers: Awesome list. 10 taps rotating including hard to find seasonals.
Food: Better than average pub grub. We especially like the parma. A dining room is good for special occasions. See menu here.
Music: Have never seen music there. Pity as it would complete the picture.
First Date: 9/10/ Quality surrounds for quality date.
Specials: Tasty ones See here.
Number 5: The Drunken Poet
Gets some craic into ya, while having a piping hot toastie.
There is a bit of graffiti in the toilet of The Drunken Poet (smallest toilet in Melbourne it has to be said) that reads "(My Surname) It's time to go home". Now since my name is somewhat rare (and Irish) I'm wondering if it was directed at me or perhaps some transient Irish backpacker. It was a big surprise at the time, and the bloke outside the door was probably wondering why I shouted "What the Hell?". Whatever the case, having lived In Ireland I can say that this is the most authentic Irish drinking hole I have been to in Australia. It's small, cramped, but filled with character and characters. It also showcases some of Melbourne's best musicians with little fanfare.
Beer: Supports Victorian Craft Beer but also has Guinness and Kilkenny naturally.
Music: Has free quality performances most nights of the week.
Beer garden: Two tables out on the street looking towards Queen Vic Market.
First Date Place: 9/10 Intimate and snugly.
26 Oct 2014 10:20 PMUpdated
12 Dec 2017 12:00 PM
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