Irish or Irish at heart? Whether you’re keen to celebrate St Patrick’s Day or enjoy a few beers and comfort food at any time of year, Irish pubs around the country can be relied on to bring the craic.

Here’s a run-down of some of our favourite Irish pubs in Australia.

Group of friends eating out at the pub

O'Connell's Centenary Hotel, South Melbourne

O'Connells Centenary Hotel

A gastro pub before the term entered common parlance, O’Connell’s has serious foodie credentials and a number of well-known chefs including Greg Malouf and Adrian Richardson have rattled the pans here. Despite the proliferation of pubs in South Melbourne, O’Connell’s stands out thanks to its prominent corner location and whitewashed exterior, along with its food-first reputation. Having a drink at the bar or at one of the kerbside tables? The bar menu is surprisingly extensive, ranging from small snacks (olives, sticky fried chicken and charcuterie boards) to the more substantial mains like porterhouse steak, an Angus beef burger and the beer-battered fish and chips. Step through the refurbished interiors to the restaurant, where the seasonal menu highlights the provenance of ingredients. Expect dishes like a Fraser Island spanner crab cocktail, crumbed Flinder’s Island lamb brisket, and pan-roasted Cone Bay barramundi with cauliflower and pickled fennel. There’s plenty of on-tap beer and cider options, but consider pairing your meal with a bottle wine from O’Connell’s thoughtful list.

Book O'Connell's Centenary Hotel here.

O’Malley’s Irish Bar, Mooloolaba

O'Malley's Irish Bar

Located in the heart of the Sunshine Coast at Mooloolaba, just a short stroll from the beach, O’Malley’s attracts locals and tourists alike with its great value meals and lively atmosphere. Pub grub is the order of the day, with enormous schnitzels, steak (from 200g medallion to 400g rump), and sausages and mash. When the weather cools, lamb and Kilkenny stew, pot pies, and braised lamb shanks provide the warm-up factor needed and complement the Irish beers on top. O’Malley’s goes the extra mile to make sure everyone feels welcome: seniors and kids get their own menus, plus Thursday nights are family-friendly with $12 Irish meals and a live Irish band. Other evenings have their own offerings: parmi nights on Wednesdays always pack out with punters working their way through the six varieties (Supreme is hard to beat), while Monday serves up a regular roast special. Things get louder on weekends as local musicians and cover bands take the stage on Friday and Saturday nights, followed by DJs and karaoke on Sundays. Want a family-friendly St Patrick’s Day? Bring the kids to O’Malley’s where fairies and Irish dancers will keep everyone entertained.

Book O’Malley’s Irish Bar here.

P.J O’Brien’s, Sydney

P.J O'Brien's

Offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s city streets, P.J. O’Brien’s follows the reliable Irish pub formula we’ve come to know and love: cosy interiors, beers on tap, comfort food, and a relaxed atmosphere. Generous servings of slow-braised lamb shanks (be sure to order soda bread on the side), Irish stew, or beef and Guinness pie will please the traditionalists, but the menu also offers variety with mains like mushroom and spinach risotto, grilled salmon, and curry. Craving a steak? Choose from eye fillet, rump, and sirloin served with your choice of two sides and sauce. Kids aren’t forgotten either, with a special menu for those 14 and under that goes beyond standard fare with mini steak and a creamy chicken pasta. Regulars show up for weekly events like Sunday sessions of live Irish music, quiz nights every Tuesday, and daily meal specials. Keen to join in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations? Your best bet is to book a table for the famous breakfast on the 17th and stick around for the frivolity as long as you can. Lunch and dinner bookings are also available.

Book P.J O’Brien’s here.

The Irish Times Pub, Melbourne

The Irish Times Pub

For a slice of Dublin in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, head towards the enormous Irish flag hanging over Little Collins Street until you reach the The Irish Times Pub. Step inside and you’ll be transported back to the motherland with hardwood floors, dark timber interiors, beautiful stained glass windows and fireplaces that encourage lingering. Grab a pint from one of the wrap-around bars — with more than 10 beers on tap it might take some consideration — before settling in for a meal and live music (on Fridays and Saturdays). The menu offers the best of both worlds: traditional Irish food like bangers and mash and Irish stew, along with Aussie pub classics like chicken schnitzel, steaks served with your choice of side and sauce, and seven different burgers. Can’t get enough Guinness in your life? Try the enormous chargrilled Guinness Tower burger glazed with ‘secret’ Guinness sauce and Tuscan-flavoured onion rings, or the beef and Guinness pie topped with mashed potato. On St Patrick’s Day, the celebrations at The Irish Times Pub kick off at a traditional cooked Irish breakfast, but the Irish food, music and dancing will continue into the night.

Book The Irish Times Pub here.

JB O'Reillys, West Leederville, WA

JB O'Reillys

A long-standing favourite on the Perth pub scene, JB O’Reillys proudly holds the mantle of being Australia’s biggest Guinness seller for eight years running. Beer is serious business here, with an extensive selection on tap and more than 20 bottled beers from Australia and overseas. A constant stream of events and specials lure the crowds: think weekday happy hours, lunchtime and evening food specials (nacho Tuesday, anyone?), and Sunday roasts — challenge yourself to finish the ultimate combination of chicken, pork, beef, pork and lamb with Yorkshire pudding. The menu offers old favourites like Irish pork sausages, beef and Guinness pie, and liver and bacon, while main options run more towards burgers and sandwiches. Irish dancers take centrestage on St Paddy’s Day, which JB O’Reillys is (naturally) turning into a three-day festival of music, food and celebrations.

Book JB O'Reillys here.