Ah, Brunswick. With your plethora of pubs, cafes and awesome foodie haunts, what a special place in our hearts you hold. If you’ve never explored this Sydney Road-centric hub, Listers, you are seriously missing out on some great finds. So here’s our pick of the shops, bars, cafes and restaurants in Brunswick—everything you should be eating, drinking, buying and doing when taking a trip to the northside.
(If you’re disappointed that this round-up doesn’t stray much from the Sydney Road area, fear not! We’ll be publishing a Brunswick East list later this year.)
Code Black Coffee
Tucked on Weston Street, Code Black Coffee serves up some of the best coffee in Melbourne, seven days a week. The food is an absolute treat too—think baked eggs and delicious brunch options—and the on-site roaster and shop means there’s always something new to check out.
A Minor Place
Another hidden café, A Minor Place on Albion Street serves healthy breakfasts and lunch options, along with organic juices, coffee and a small selection of beers and wines, too. If you’re feeling like a super-clean choice, the super salad with wild rice, goji berries, radish, quinoa and kale is a must. If not, the reuben bagel wins out every time.
If Los Hermanos Mexican restaurant in Brunswick isn’t on your must-eat list, scratch out whatever’s currently number one and get it on there. The small premises has an outdoor garden, and the fish tacos are the best tacos in Melbourne if you’re looking for authentic flavours. Unless you head to dinner early, you’re probably going to have a short wait for a table, but it is 100% worth it. Margaritas + tacos = Yes.
Thai restaurant Kao Thai is the perfect spot if you are looking for an affordable lunch or dinner in Brunswick. The curries, crispy pork and stir-fried dishes are all mouth-wateringly good, and the BYO drinks option makes for a great cheap night out (although you’ll have to book in advance for large tables). The staff here are awesome, too—give them a high-five from us when you do pay them a visit!
The Penny Black
It might not look like much from the outside but The Penny Black bar and beer garden in Brunswick does a cracking pub menu as well as great live music, workshops and events throughout the year. Serving pizzas (savoury and dessert!), burgers, salads, sharing platters (jerk chicken, polenta chips, falafel bites…) and some more lavish specials, the vegetarian and vegan options are plentiful too. An awesome spot for cheap eats in Melbourne, washed down with a few frothies.
Visiting first-floor Brunswick cocktail bar Amelia Shaw is like stepping into another world. From the kooky vintage décor to the classic drinks list, we love everything about Amelia. A great date spot, or ideal for a couple of posh drinks with friends…And if you fancy getting messy, boozy Brunswick institution the Retreat Hotel is just below.
One of Brunswick’s trendiest new venues, Howler is home to a kitchen, bar and live music space. Housed in a converted warehouse, the interior itself is pretty darn great, bringing plantlife and scattered seating into the industrial high-ceilinged building. Keep an eye on their gig listings—it’s the perfect venue for catching local acts and up-and-coming international bands, DJs and producers. One of our favourite Melbourne bars, hands down.
The Spotted Mallard
A traditional beer-heavy pub that’s on the main Sydney Road strip. Not only is the food and beer selection excellent at The Spotted Mallard, they also do a great live music Sunday session—the perfect soundtrack if you’re looking to relax with a group of mates.
Cheeses, oils, meats, imported pastas…Mediterranean Wholesalers is a one-stop shop for delicious goods and foodie gifts. A must-visit around seasonal holidays such as Christmas, when they really bring out the good stuff!
Get all your organic, paleo, vegan and healthy produce at this Aunt Maggie’s premises, which also has nutritionists on site to help you make informed choices about what you’re eating. Drop in regularly to keep up with their specials.
Dejour Jeans custom tailor denim in all colours of the rainbow for a fraction of CBD prices. The variety of cuts, styles and hues is amazing—great for daily denim essentials or that burnt orange pair of jeans you only plan on wearing for one season.
Brunswick Bound specialises in, you guessed it, books. The independent book store also keeps some beautiful homewares and gifts in its upstairs space, making it a great find for picking up gifts in a hurry, or for a little to-me, from-me.
Fact: Life in Melbourne is so much better if you’re on two wheels. Samson Cycles is an Australian owned bike brand that makes bargain road bicycles, city bicycles and vintage style bicycles. They do a mean fluoro green colour-way too—perfect if you plan on cycling around Brunswick in the evenings.
Saint Gertrude Letterpress
Want to make your own gift cards, party invitations and posters? Learn all about the art of traditional letterpress printing with the Saint Gertrude Letterpress team, who run workshops and studio access throughout the year.
Soap Bar Launderette
Do your laundry in one of Melbourne’s coolest launderettes! The sister space to Carlton’s Soap Bar, Soap Bar Launderette in Brunswick is always filled with friendly people washing and drying their threads.
Image credit: Howler via Facebook