Brunswick’s Cornish Arms has carved out a niche as a pub with hearty vegan-friendly fare. Now it’s literally raised the bar again, with the opening of a rooftop serving a new snack and cocktail menu.

Owner Tom Mahoney says the 70-person bar has been in the works for about two years. “We sat the team down in a room and said, ‘Here’s what we want, go away and have a think and come back with your ideas’,” he says. “We allowed free rein to explore a contemporary offering and basically run with what they’ve seen and what they like.”

Venue manager Josh Heur and bar manager Liam Holyoak-Rackal developed the menu of classic cocktails with house twists. Heur’s pick is the South Side Sting – an Australian take on classic South Side cocktail. It’s made with Brookie’s Gin – distilled with native rainforest ginger from Byron Bay – as well as lime, mint, sugar and muddled ginger.

Holyoak-Rackal likes the Settanta Cinque, an Italian spin on the French 75, featuring hyper-local gin from Brunswick’s Patient Wolf, plus grapefruit, Campari, lemon and house bubbles. “We tried to focus on keeping the menu simple and approachable,” he says. The idea is that you can drink these cocktails all the time, not just on special occasions.

In the fridge and on tap you’ll find beers from Two Birds, Bad Shepherd, Temple, Hawkers and other locals. There’s also vegan vodka and wine available.

The snack menu by executive chef Lloyd Kemberly, is just as approachable and inclusive, with “hawker-style food” that keeps the vegan appeal. Choose from vegan mac‘n’cheese bites, Buffalo wings and daily specials.

Wendy Bergman of Bergman & Co designed the space, incorporating elements of the old rooftop, including tiles discovered below the old tin sheeting, which now frame the base of the bar. The “austere aesthetic” allows the impressive backdrop to take centre stage.

There’s an impressive view of Sydney Road, stretching south to the city skyline. Look east and you can even see the Dandenong Ranges. In the foreground, Brunswick’s chimneys and rooftops give a real sense of history and character.

For more venues like the Cornish Arms, see our guides to Melbourne’s Best Rooftop Bars and Best Vegan Restaurants.

Cornish Arms Rooftop Bar
163a Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9380 8383

Mon to Thu, 1pm–11pm
Fri to Sat 12pm–1am
Sun 12pm–11pm