Melbourne A Q&A with the Drunken Poet

For the second year running The Drunken Poet took out our Top 50 Pubs in Melbourne list. We talked to owner/manager Siobhan Dooley about how this inconspicuous space became one of city's most loved venues. 

What made you choose a tiny room in West Melbourne to start this journey? 

Basically, it was the only place I could afford and even then I hesitated for some time cos I was scared but luckily it didn't sell and I got it and then I was determined to make it work. I knew that regardless of how successful it would become, it would be the coolest Irish pub in town.

What did you do before this?

I worked for 7 years in Boston and Chicago as sales and events manager for the House of Blues.

We here at THH, feel that the Drunken Poet is the most authentic Irish bar in the city. What type of experience do you try and create for visitors?

We try to give a down-to earth, relaxed, fun experience to everyone. No bull shit is tolerated from guests or staff. Conversation is key to the welcoming atmosphere and this is enabled by the design of the long bar and the absence of any TVs.

Previously written in graffiti in the men's toilets (has since been covered up) were the words, "Canty, head on home, ur here 2 long". The founder of THH (Chris Canty) maintains it is not directed at him. What do you know about it?

No, it's not directed at Chris, it was written by a backpacker one Friday night, telling his Irish friend to go home cos he had to work at 7am the next morning!

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What have been some of the highlights the past nine years?

There have been so many shows that I ask myself 'Why is this brilliant musician playing here in this little pub?' , also one of Australia's finest poets - Les Murray performed here. Being named as one of the top ten best Irish pubs outside of Ireland by the Irish Times newspaper was unbelievable. There has been so many laughs with so many characters at the bar, crazy packed nights with everyone dancing on Christmas Eve, all the Birthday parties. And of course, meeting and working with all the wonderful staff that have become lifelong friends.




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09 Oct 2018 6:55 PM


23 Jan 2019 11:07 PM


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