As well as the many family-owned restaurants, Middle Eastern bakeries and small cafes scattered along the Brunswick stretch of Sydney Road, there are several bonafide bars. So we decided to take it upon ourselves to embark on a Sydney Road pub-crawl, and in the spirit of responsible indulgence, we've selected six bars for you to check out when you're next up that way for a drink.

Edinburgh Castle
While in no way extravagant, 'The Ed' absolutely delivers in every way a pub should, with a welcoming atmosphere, solid counter meals and a band room for live music. This unassuming pub is devoid of vanity, making it a favourite among locals. The warm, roomy main bar is where the pub's atmosphere is at. Grab a jug of beer, take a seat and enjoy a night (or lazy afternoon) at this cosy local.

681 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9386 7580

Mon - Fri 4pm–midnight
Sat - Sun noon–midnight

The Penny Black
The Penny Black is often described as one of Sydney Road's best-kept secrets. Well, clearly the secret's out, as this bar – which was originally the municipality's GPO – is one of the busiest establishments north of the city. Its beer garden is arguably the best in Brunswick. It's lined with booths, but you have to get there early to nab one. The huge outdoor area will often have a DJ spinning old school funk and early punk tunes, or more mellow live acts. The main indoor section is roomy and regularly hosts live bands, while the narrow room separating the main bar from the beer garden allows for more intimate conversation.

420 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9380 8667

Mon - Thu 5pm–late
Fri to Sun noon–late

The Brunswick Green
Perhaps the archetypal Sydney Road bar, The Brunswick Green defies categorisation. Mismatched furniture and an incongruous collection of retro trinkets give this venue its own strange allure. 'The Green' is typical of the discordant aesthetics that can be seen in many Sydney Road bars; it's almost as if their owners are rallying against the homogeneous bistro-pubs that continue to sprout across the inner-city suburbs. The inviting bar has a snug side room, a roaring fireplace in the back room, good pub food and a well-considered beer, wine and spirits selection. But what makes it a contender for the ultimate Sydney Road bar is its expansive beer garden, which has plenty of wooden tables illuminated by coloured lights. With regular live music or a DJ playing tunes as diverse as the decor, it's the kind of bar where you can really settle in.

313 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9381 2413

Tues 5pm–11pm
Wed - Thu 5pm–1am
Fri 4pm–1am
Sat 2pm–1am
Sun 2pm–11pm

Bar Etiquette
It's all about the specialty drinks at Bar Etiquette, so you won't find any draught beer on tap here. There's an air of mystery to the place. It's not easily recognisable form the street, and once you’ve entered, it's a labyrinth of narrow walkways and secluded upstairs rooms cluttered with mismatched couches and dusty old books. It's flamboyant but doesn't reek of pompousness. And yes, there’s a beer garden, but it’s comparatively small by Sydney Road standards. But that's okay, it's too cold outside at the moment anyway. Bring cash – this bar doesn't take cards.

408 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9387 3843

Mon to Sat 5pm–1am
Sun 3pm–11pm

Brunswick Hotel
A mainstay of the Sydney Road pub scene, the Brunswick Hotel is the sartorial equivalent to a pair of Levis – cool but a good fit, unpretentious and comfortable. It's also arguably the hub of Brunswick's thriving live music scene. Come on almost any night and you can expect to see a live act. The Brunswick Hotel recently underwent a renovation in the beer garden, complete with a new undercover section featuring tables, second-hand lounge suites and a small patch of astroturf lined with white fold-out lawn chairs. It shouldn't work, but like so many Sydney Road pubs, it kind of does. It's the perfect pub to include at the end of your pub-crawl, if only for the fact that it's open until 5am every Friday and Saturday (and 3am pretty much every other night).

140 Sydney Road
(03) 9387 6637

Mon - Thu 4pm–3am
Fri to Sat 4pm–5am
Sun 4pm–1am