The best bars in Brunswick are still mostly found on Sydney Road, clustered between Brunswick Road and Glenlyon Road, but we’re starting to see new openings stretching into the suburb’s bungalow-filled side streets, edging closer to Brunswick East and Brunswick West.

The area is particularly good for bigger groups. It’s almost as close to the city as Fitzroy and Richmond and there are plenty of pubs, but there’s a little more space. Many of the bars in this guide feature large, open spaces filled with big communal tables.

Live music also has a serious presence here. The dearly departed Brunswick Hotel was an incubator for heavy metal and punk, a torch that’s since been passed to Stay Gold, the band room at the back of Spitfire. The Penny Black, The Spotted Mallard, Bar Oussou and The Retreat Hotel are also reliable places to catch a band. And of course, there’s Howler, where indie and electronic acts take full advantage of one of Melbourne’s best sound systems.

Related Pages
Best Bars in Brunswick East
Guide to Brunswick


There’s finally a place to drink good wine again on this stretch of Sydney Road. And there’s house-made charcuterie, roasted cauliflower and lightly Asian-accented fare on the menu.

341 Sydney Road, Brunswick
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Union Hotel - Brunswick

A simple backstreet boozer that harks back to the pubs of old.

109 Union Street, Brunswick

The Cornish Arms

This pub is renowned for two reasons. One: it's got one of the most vegan-friendly menus in Melbourne – meaning meat-eaters and herbivores alike can enjoy whatever pub classic they feel like. Two: its sunny and expansive rooftop bar is surely one of the best in Brunswick. With its great view of the skyline, it definitely has the best view.

163A Sydney Road, Brunswick

Miss Moses

It’s beer, sandwiches and 1960s Americana at this laid-back spot.

581 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Thunder Road Brewing

Old-school philosophy. New-school quality.

130 Barkly Street, Brunswick

Joey Smalls

It’s not quite a nightclub and it’s not quite a bar. But it’s definitely good for a dance.

284 Sydney Road, Brunswick


A former wool store turned bar, arts hub and live music venue.

Enter via carpark 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick

Amelia Shaw

Shoot pool on a round table, sipping cocktails and admiring the Art-Deco decor between shots.

Level 1 280 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Brunswick Mess Hall

A mix of business – from boutique beers to summer punch and Asian cuisine served Spanish-style.

400 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Bar Texaco

A former McConnell chef is behind this intimate bar serving Texas-style brisket, pork belly, jalapeño kransky and four types of taco. There’s also a tidy selection of tequila, mezcal and bourbon.

644 Sydney Road, Brunswick


Blending elements of Melbourne cafe, European wine bar and Tokyo-style “listening bar”, this buzzing spot hosts vinyl-only DJs five nights a week, with no cover charges. It’s one of the best places in town to hear recorded music.

153 Weston Street, Brunswick