"Situated opposite the vegetable sheds of Queen Victoria Market, it draws a mixed crowd of fluoro-jacketed working men and sensitive music lovers. The reason for the latter is its championing of live, mainly acoustic music. Wednesdays are the Wine, Whisky, Women showcase of female songwriters; there’s an open-mic night once a month; and regular Irish Traditional music sessions.
It’s a lovely, old-fashioned little bar, with aged unpolished floorboards, fresh flowers and cream walls covered with portraits of writers and lyricists, many of whom famously liked a tipple. A major draw is the owner and bartender, a tiny, feisty Irish lass by the name of Siobhan who knows the punters by name, has a remarkable memory for orders and makes excellent toasted sandwiches at the bar.
Also on offer to help soak up the drink are pickled eggs and somewhat battered bags of Taytos, Ireland’s finest crisps. The Guinness, as one would expect, is poured to perfection and there are spirits in abundance.
Pull a stool up to the bar if you’re in the mood to make new acquaintances – the atmosphere is always warm and convivial. The Drunken Poet is a proper Irish gem – if only there were more like it.
Time Out Melbourne
With friendly, attentive bar-staff headed by the lovely Siobhan, there is always something going on at The Poet; live music, poetry readings, but my favourite happens on Tuesday nights: trivia. Even when your team comes dead last—like my team, The Fighting Mongooses (comprised of myself and fellow Milk Bar writer Jade Kelly) did a few of weeks ago—it’s still a hell of a lot of fun, and the crowd is great.
G. Raymond Leavold - MILKBARMAG
As authentic and comfy as they come, the Drunken Poet is a no-bull Irish pub with great Guinness on tap, along with a variety of other tap beers including Kilkenny, a range of bottle beers, a good wine list, and all the usual (and some not-so-usual) spirits. There's always something entertaining going on, whether it be quiz nights, DJs, live acts, the traditional Irish music session every other Sunday afternoon, or your own choice of tunes from the jukebox.
The drinks are inexpensive, and Siobhan, the Irish girl behind the bar, is quick to learn your name. There's a real community feel about the Poet and it's not unusual to pop in for a quick beer and find yourself three beers later deep in conversation with a group of regulars at the bar. The pub attracts a fairly large crowd of regulars, both Irish and locals, who come in to relax, recharge, socialise, drink and be merry in a thoroughly Irish, thoroughly unpretentious atmosphere.
Kelly, Melbourne: Reader Review April 2007
Irish pub? Well, kinda... but kinda not really. Much cooler than your standard Irish pub chain and with great live music from excellent local and interstate singer-songwriters to boot! Regular names here are Rory Ellis and Sime Nugent and Liz Stringer - true local greats. They also hold the Wine Whiskey Women night every Wednesday, featuring a line-up of female singer-songwriters.
The bar is dark with stained wood booths and a bit of a homely feel. The drawings on the walls of famous poets and writers definitely adds to the atmosphere. It is in a strange location, on a busy road across from the Queen Vic Market, but once you're inside, the rest of the world gets blocked out pretty darn well. Especially if you have a couple of pints of Guinness.
Adam C - Yelp
The feeling is confirmed inside, where there's a blissful absence of TVs and a welcome abundance of conversation. In operation since 2006, this backpacker-friendly pub is situated opposite the Vic Market at the start of West Melbourne, directly in sight of a large confluence of different tram routes. It's small, comfy, and authentically Irish, complete with an Irish owner/bartender who whips up a menu of toasted sandwiches.
Local and interstate musicians take up instruments there five nights a week, including the ladies performance session “Wine, Whiskey, Women” on Wednesdays and the traditional Irish music session hosted by Dan Bourke & Friends on Fridays. (Hot tip: tap beer is five bucks a pint between 5 and 7pm during the latter).
All the gigs are free, and there's no chance of getting your eardrums blown out by some rock dogs, unless it's Melbourne's punk-folk mainstays the Go Set. Rather, the Drunken Poet emphasises singer-songwriters, folkies, and other acoustic types, even offering spoken word the first Thursday of the month. In a city where cover charges and televisions in pubs are the norm, here's one pub that's a safe haven for thirsty musos and everyone else as well.
Doug Wellen - Citysearch