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.