For some weeks now, passersby have been peering through the windows of one of Sydney Road’s most historic buildings, curious as to what the old Thai restaurant has morphed into now. The biggest clue has been the Brunswick Mess Hall signage and, for those who squinted long and hard, a glittering green bar and expansive banquet table. All is finally revealed this week, with the beer hall and restaurant opening its doors to those hungry for a new meeting place.

Inside, the Brunswick Mess Hall philosophy is about shared experiences. For a start, there’s a time-honoured summer punch and craft beer poured into mugs so huge that revellers won’t need to refill for some time. “The whole thing is conducive to people sitting around, talking and enjoying themselves,” says head barman Andy Emans. “The punch is a big thing for us because it very much fits that communal feel. We’ll put 12 glasses and a bowl in the middle of the table and serve food around that.”

Acclaimed head chef Aaron Whitney will combine his Asian cuisine training with his tapas know-how, creating bite-size pieces that can be divvied around the table. Think tasty dishes such as sushi, dumplings and Chinese doughnuts, all made in the venue’s Lucky Panda Kitchen.

Brunswick Mess Hall adapts a subtle animal theme throughout. The owners (a group of mates, including Emans and Whitney, who also own Portello Rosso and Murmur in the city) have taken cues from the building’s distinctive architecture, reminiscent of an overturned ark.

Brunswick Mess Hall
400 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9388 0297

Wed to Sun 5pm–1am