Just north of Melbourne’s CBD is Brunswick. Once the true multicultural core of the greater metropolitan area, Brunswick is now Melbourne’s hipster central. The area is home to many independent shops and thrift stores, as well as a huge variety of cool cafes and restaurants. It is also full of some of Melbourne’s coolest bars. Have a look at ten of the best.
The Brunswick Mess Hall
The Brunswick Mess Hall is the perfect place to go with large groups, to eat or drink. The food is reasonably priced and delicious, the cocktails come in huge bowls, and you can buy beer in steins. The high ceiling, which is supported by dark wooden beams, and the indoor plants provide customers with a refreshing, spacious setting to revel in the Asian cuisine. The drinks menu has an enormous selection of beers and cocktails just waiting to be discovered.
The Brunswick Mess Hall, 400 Sydney Rd, Melbourne VIC, Australia +61 3 9388 0297
Spotted Mallard is a triple threat. Its draft beer selection is constantly being updated with local and international beers, making it one of Brunswick’s top beer bars. It is also one of Brunswick’s premier performance venues for Melbourne’s music scene, with the stage being the main focal point among the cool, vintage decor. On top of that, Spotted Mallard offers a menu of classic bar snacks and larger meals, including their selection of burgers that show off seasonal flavors and the chef’s artistic flair.
Spotted Mallard, 314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC, Australia, +61 3 9380 8818
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Located on Lygon Street you’ll find this classy and traditional bar, Atticus Finch, where you will be able to find a fantastic choice of international and local wines that changes monthly, as well as four taps and a selection of bottled beer and cider. The bar takes its name from the wise father in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and the feel of place is certainly American. The decor is reminiscent of an early to mid 20th century restaurant and, although it’s primarily a bar, the food menu offers an exciting selection of incredibly flavorsome European inspired bar food.
Atticus Finch, 129 Lygon St, Brunswick VIC, Australia, +61 3 9387 0188
Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria
Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria’s provincial wooden decor and low-key atmosphere makes it the best place to come for a few beers with some friends. Even if you weren’t hungry when you walked in, you’ll be hungry after about ten minutes when your eyes drift over to the blackboard; what’s written on there is sure to entice you. Try the tacos – at around five dollars a pop you might struggle to choose which one to try, and end up getting one of each.
Los Hermanos Mexican Taquería, 339 Victoria St, Brunswick VIC, Australia, +61 3 9939 3661
Offering its unique space as a performance and entertainment venue, Howler is one of Brunswick’s premier spots for art displays and to see up-and-coming musicians. This is in addition to being an extraordinary bar and garden lounge, and, of course, one of Melbourne’s greatest burger joints. The variety of burgers display flavors that hint at different cuisines from around the world. With all the art and music, quirky decor and brilliant bar food, you’ll just have to come back a couple more times to be sure that you’ve taken it all in.
Howler, 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick VIC, Australia, +61 3 9077 5572
The Penny Black
Once upon a time this bar was Brunswick’s Post Office, one of the busiest and most important buildings in the suburb. After the postal service became more automated, and post offices became less of a big deal, The Penny Black took over this building, and from then on it has been a bar and music venue. Every day of the week, there is something to do at The Penny Black, you can find out what’s going on by checking their website.
The Penny Black, 420 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC, Australia, +61 3 9380 8667
The Alehouse Project
After opening in the winter of 2012, The Alehouse Project has been leading the way in terms of craft beer ever since. The diverse range of beer and cider sits waiting to be discovered, since the 12 taps, showcasing some great microbrewery beers, rotate to offer new options to customers and constantly exhibit different breweries. The Alehouse Project also has a delectable menu including a variety of bar snacks that are packed with international flavors, and a selection of delicious hand-made burgers.
The Alehouse Project, 98-100 Lygon St, Brunswick East Vic, Australia, +61 3 9387 1218
Bridie O’Reilly’s is one of Sydney Road’s biggest and busiest bars, boasting an outdoor garden area where you can soak up the gorgeous south-east Australian rays over a beer with friends. This is also a great place to come at watch world-wide sporting events, whether it be Australian football or soccer. Also don’t forget to check out the fantastic weekly meal deals, so you can eat like royalty for a reasonable price.
Bridie O’Reilly’s, 29 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC, Australia,+61 3 9387 2600
Melbourne’s large Greek population is well represented by Hellenic Republic, which serves authentic Greek food fused with modern ideas. The decor pays homage to the flag of the Greek homeland by using white and blue among the austere wooden furnishings. The bar serves 16 different types of ouzo, a traditional Greek aperitif. If you’re in a group and feel like sharing, try one of the sharing menus that allow you to taste all the best seasonal Greek delights.
Hellenic Republic Brunswick, 434 Lygon St, Brunswick East VIC, Australia, +61 3 9381 1222
The Stonemill 347
The Stonemill 347 is a food and wine bar that serves up authentic Italian cuisine using the best seasonal ingredients and their signature fresh pasta, hand-made every morning. Owner Salvo’s vision was to create a space that would show the passion and talent for Italian cooking that exists in Melbourne, and he does so with authentic Italian food and local Australian wine, as well as many different wines imported all the way from Italy. The Stonemill is also an excellent wine bar, and a great place to enjoy a relaxing evening.
The Stonemill 347, 347 Lygon Street, East Brunswick VIC, Australia, +61 3 9387 1921