The East Brunswick Hotel
Scott Didier spent most of his childhood in Brunswick. His grandfather used to drink at the East Brunswick Hotel – once the popular, if grubby, East Brunswick Club – back in the day. So, when the much-loved pub hit the market again in 2017 he nabbed the near150-year-old hotel, which also has a mix of 12 boutique double rooms and studios upstairs.
In a former life, the East Brunswick Club was a poorly lit but highly frequented local pub, with a live-music offering and sticky carpet. A few features from the original remain, such as the ceiling’s exposed steel beams (imported from the UK) and the bar top, which is made from wood salvaged from Mornington Pier. The industrial-style public bar has cosy booth seating and there’s a new stage for live music.
The private cellar in the basement doubles as a dining room for up to 24, with a large wooden communal dining table, neon signage and a blond-timber feature wall. There’s another private cocktail bar upstairs with marble benches, chandeliers and an outdoor balcony where a black-and-white mural of Johnny Cash resides.
The food is simple and booze-friendly: ale-steamed mussels with bacon, cauliflower fritters dusted with cashew dukkha, and spinach and ricotta ravioli with broccoli pesto and burrata. T-bone and hangar steaks are from Hopkins River. The hero of the menu is the one-pound meatball served with silky mashed potato and peas. Condiments are made in-house from local ingredients.
You’ll find draught, craft and boutique local beer including Social Beast Pale Ale from Brewmanity Beer Co, Stomping Ground Bunker Porter, Brick Lane Lager and Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. On tap there’s Carlton Draught, Furphy and Coopers Pale. Blood-orange Espresso Martinis, burnt-apple Whisky Sours, and spiced Margaritas are also on the list.
12 double and studio hotel rooms were redesigned by Neisha Johnson of Red Socks Design Group. Delicate chandeliers, plush velvet lounges and a dark colour palette form the dramatically stylish spaces.