Can a piece of furniture make a bar?
Sunk into one of Wolf and Swill’s padded stools, we’d have to go with “yes”. These sturdy leather numbers were rescued from the pokies room at a Brunswick RSL. Now their extreme comfort enables hours of pizza, beer and lively conversation instead of mindless button pushing.
Time seems less relevant here. Even when the sun’s high and the trestles on the footpath are full, Wolf and Swill has something of a clandestine, after-hours feel. A mirror ball twirls lazily overhead, throwing patterns onto Venetian blinds. Records run laps behind the bar, and a woodfired pizza oven glows reassuringly in the back.
Two of the bar’s three owners – Jasper Hood and Ioreth Tudor – have spent years cooking pizza. Hood worked at I Carusi in its heyday, while Tudor co-founded several pizzerias, most notably Lazerpig and A Boy Named Sue, where third owner Ben Burgess was a regular.
Fans of these places will be happy here. The pizzas are basically Neapolitan, but go off-piste with the toppings. The bases are also less floppy than is traditional.
“I really hate a pizza you can’t pick up and eat with your hands, so we cook it longer,” Tudor says. “And we’ve adapted the dough a little bit, to be a bit more crunchy on the outside and have that little bit of flop in the middle.”
Pizzas come in one size – the kind that seems ambitious when you’re dead sober but just right after one or two pints. One has confit garlic, sous-vide garlic, honey, buffalo mozzarella and rosemary. Another comes topped with pork and fennel sausage, bechamel, buttered leeks, and washed rind cheese. A fancy Hawaiian pairs ham hock with pickled pineapple.
Eight taps pour a truly diverse set of beers. On our visit, there was Sapporo lager, Coopers pale ale, Mr Banks’s Got Milk nitro porter and Boatrocker’s Jungle Jive sour IPA. Wines are “minimal intervention and slightly natural, without going too left of centre”. Expect bottles from Jamsheed, SC Pannell and Crittenden Estate.
Wolf and Swill
901 High Street, Thornbury
(03) 9416 7564
Wed & Thu 4pm–11pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–1am