Welcome to Brunswick is a new open-air garden-bar from the Welcome to Thornbury crew. But this time, the food-truck-meets-booze-garden mavens are working in collaboration with double-decker craft brewery 4 Pines, from Manly in Sydney.
“We had a meeting six months ago with all the major stakeholders. Six of them, six of us,” says Scott Assender, co-owner of Welcome to Group, which owns both the Thornbury and Brunswick spots. “They’re serious guys, but when we get together we have a lot of fun.”
While it follows the same formula that makes Welcome to Thornbury so popular, the Brunswick outpost has its own distinct personality. For one, the 450-person space hosts a 4 Pines brewery-bar. You can head in for a brew, or order from the window looking out over the beer garden.
And while – as at Thornbury – you can sit outside at a communal table, orbited by the requisite food trucks serving burgers, tacos, Philly cheesesteaks, woodfired pizza and more, here Brunswick Mess Hall backs onto the space and contributes to the menu too, with spicy chicken wings; pork and shiitake gyoza; charcoal chicken skewers; and fried eggplant. Just order at the bar.
The brewery won’t be operational until January, but the bar serves the 4 Pines core range – a crisp pale ale, a fruity Pacific, an alcoholic ginger beer and more – alongside beers made exclusively for Brunswick. Beyond beer there are cans of boozy peach iced tea, beer-based cocktails (think spiced rum mixed with coconut and pineapple liqueur, then topped with Pacific ale), a handful of local wines and a few fruity ciders.
There are also jugs of cocktails for $40 a pop – try the Middle Earth Mojito which combines 42 Below feijoa vodka with white rum, kiwifruit, fresh mint, soda and citrus; or the Red Goji Berry Sangria with star-anise and cherry.
Breathe Architecture handled the design of the park, bringing in recycled timbers for the outdoor deck, adding pontoon lighting overhead and exposed scaffolding throughout, and converting an old shed on the site – a former telecommunications depot – into the bar. Seating is a mix of proper chairs and old kegs with timber tops.
Outside, one wall is reserved for rotating murals from a range of local artists, including abstract artist Silk Roy and contemporary painter Tom Gerrard. And dogs are not only welcome, they’re encouraged.
The park is working toward serving all food on reusable plates rather than disposable, but at the moment this is only happening one day per week. There are also plans to bring in an anaerobic digester, a machine that takes organic waste and converts it to methane (which can be used for power) and mulch for fertiliser. And a plant nursery and bike shop are both in the works, too.
Welcome to Brunswick
1 Frith Street, Brunswick
(03) 9036 6310
Wed & Thu 5pm–10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–12am