To the d-floor

The Prince Alfred Hotel

Uni night is: Wednesday

I am aware that less than I month ago I raved about Pugg Mahones Carlton as ‘the ultimate uni night pub‘.

I am certainly not going to take that back in this post, but I must admit I find myself a little tempted to label PA’s likewise.

I know, big call.

But I should point out that PA’s provides students with a different uni night.  I wouldn’t so much recommend the Prince Alfred for a quiet night out like I did Puggs.

In my opinion, this pub doesn’t really have value as a ‘sit down with a few beers and a few mates and chat’ pub.  This is not to say you can’t do this at PA’s.  There are tables and bar stools and a beer garden (but note that ‘smoke garden’ would be a more appropriate term for this area) upstairs, plus pool tables downstairs to provide the bona fide pub experience.

But this is not why most uni students trudge down to the corner of Grattan and Bouverie Streets (yes, you are not mistaken, this is pub is literally located right outside Melbourne Uni) every Wednesday night.

For me, and my fellow university residence students, PA’s is all about the dancefloor.

It may be sticky from a few spilled beverages.

It may be sweaty.

It may be so packed with tipsy uni students that moving your feet is a challenge in itself.

But this is why we love it.

PA’s is packed every Wednesday of the university teaching periods, almost without fail.  What better environment for the student who ‘doesn’t really dance’ to blend into a crowd and the one who is one who is happy to show off his/her array of moves to an appreciative crowd alike?

It helps that the DJ plays a good mix of songs, ranging from the latest hits that one might hear on Fox FM or even Triple J, to the old favourites.  I had an inspired dance sesh at PA’s last Wednesday night which got even better when the DJ whipped out Passion Pit’s ‘Little Secrets’ followed by Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’.

The Wednesday playlist always ends with Semisonic’s ‘Closing Time’, which is bound to stir the crowd to place their arms around each other and sway while screaming out the lyrics.

Note: the DJ takes requests.

Drink wise, PA’s doesn’t offer a lot of deals apart from $5 wet pussy shots (definitely worth a try) and cheap-ish jugs of beer.

But if you want to experience the epitome of dirty d-floors, vital to any big uni night, PA’s is the place.  Jump in there with the sweaty, sticky crowd, request your song and get dancing.

It’s the best way to blow off some steam and get rid of some uni stress.


The ultimate uni night pub

Pugg Mahones Irish Pub Carlton

Uni night is: every night of the week

I can think of no better way to start this blog than by reviewing my favourite uni pub.  This pub encapsulates the uni night experience, as every night is uni night at the Irish pub Pugg Mahones Carlton.

It is known for accommodating students and uni functions, something I have certainly appreciated as a resident at a University of  Melbourne college.  I have attended countless events at Puggs (including a Pirate Party just last Thursday) and am proud to say I had my first uni night in Melbourne there.

Since that night all the way back in O week last year, my relationship with Pugg Mahones has blossomed.  I feel like I’m cheating on Puggs when I walk into other Irish pubs.  I miss Puggs dearly when I don’t visit it for a week.  I have withdrawals if I don’t have my fix of $4 pints on Tuesday or Thursday nights.

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating.

But I certainly rate Puggs as the ultimate uni night pub.


On Elgin street just a blog from Lygon. Pugg Mahones Carlton is a 10-15 walk from Melbourne Uni and its residences.  For those who don’t live at the uni, just jump on the 1 or 8 trams from anywhere on Swanston street in the city and get off at the corner of Elgin or Lygon.

The pub

According to its website, Pugg Carlton ‘mixes a traditional Irish pub a contemporary bar feeling‘.

It certainly looks like a traditional Irish pub, with a large bar fitted with Guinness taps (as well as other local, international and boutique beers), its green decor and Irish knick knacks, which adorn the walls.

Downstairs is decked out with comfy booths, stools and tables where patrons can sit around and chat or take in some folk music, either performed live or played over the speakers (keep an ear out for the Pogues’ Dirty Old Town, it’s certainly a favourite at Puggs).  This is where meals are served.

Alternatively, head upstairs for the dance floor and less traditional music.  This is generally the function room and is not always open, depending on numbers at the pub.  I have had many a good night on the Puggs d-floor, dancing and singing to the latest hit songs.

Be warned: it can get hot and sticky up there, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I would advise against wearing nice shoes, as it is not unusual for fellow patrons’ drinks to end up on the floor.  And definitely no heels.

So, Puggs is effectively a pub downstairs and a club upstairs; a good venue a few quiet ones or a big night out.

What does uni night have to offer?

While Tuesday and Thursday nights stand out as the best nights for uni students, there is something on every night at Puggs.  Here is a weekly run down:

Click to enlarge, deals subject to change

$10 jugs of Carlton, VB and Bulmers are also now avaliable on Tuesdays from 9pm til close.

To keep up with changing deals I would recommend adding Pugg Mahones Carlton as a friend on Facebook.  They update regularly!

In my opinion you can’t go past $12.50 steak or parma and chips (both top pub meals) and $4 pints on Tuesdays or Thursdays for the best value.

What else?

As well as its regular deals, Puggs is known for its epic St Patrick’s Day celebrations which begin at 7am with breakfast and a pint and continue long into the night.

Every year the entire pub (upstairs and down) is filled with a sea of green-clad patrons, some with Guinness top hats and tattoos, most with a pint in hand.

So popular is Patty’s Day at Puggs that queues for the pub are known to stretch back to the end of the block..until after 11pm.

Also worth considering is joining the Guinness 100 Pint Club (aka ‘happiest club in the world’, according to the Puggs staff).

Join up and get your membership card swiped with every pint you buy.  Reach 100 points and you’re officially in.  There’s no time limit and, should you complete the challenge, your name with forever adorn the Puggs honour wall.

Just before I finish up, I should mention that it is tradition to finish a night off at Puggs by getting a late night snack at the Intersection Cafe (AKA Intsy’s).  It is conveniently located block from Puggs (on the corner of Lygon and Elgin) and a favourite of most uni students.

What better way to finish off the night with a nice greasy piece of $2.50 pizza?

The first round

Living on residence at the University of Melbourne has introduced me to a new type of nightlife; one where the drinks are always cheaper, where your fellow patrons are always familiar faces and where there is a pub or club for every night of the week.  In this blog I aim to introduce you to this type of nightlife: the Uni Night in Melbourne, Australia.  I will tell you where to be on which night and what to expect.  I will tell you which drinks to try, which songs to listen out for and what type of atmosphere you would experience.

Be warned: the venues I will take you to are by no mean flashy, city clubs.  Do not expect celebrity sightings (expect perhaps the odd Carlton player at the end of the footy season), do not expect high-end DJs, classy decor, fancy cocktails or fancy dress.  Prepare to discard the heels, suit jackets and cocktail dresses.

Instead, keep an eye out for ‘Pot and Parma’ deals, dirty d-floors, cheap pints and pub attire (jeans and a t-shirt).  Listen out for music taken straight off Fox FM, or alternatively an Irish folk CD.   Prepare to hang out with uni students taking time out of their busy schedules to de-stress over a few beers.

This blog will take you on an epic pub crawl, reviewing Uni Nights at a variety of establishments in Melbourne and its suburbs from the point of view of a university student who has seen enough to know a hot spot from a dud.

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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