Melbourne Top 50 Venues in Melbourne (30-21)
30. Tramway Hotel, Fitzroy North.
Fitzroy North has lots of pubs, but due to their continued standard of tasty burgers and support of young local bands (hello hipsters), this is up there with the best. As a Fitzroy FC supporter (yes they still exist), I’d like nothing more than walking the 60 metres from the forward pocket of the Fitzroy Football Ground to the pub, for a quiet few with the locals. We like the three outdoor tables on the street, where you can still see the footy ground. The horse drawn trams don’t come here anymore, but we do, and so should you.
29. Union Club Hotel, Fitzroy.
Another one of the great Fitzroy back street pubs. The beer list might be a little limited (though slowly getting better) and they don’t show bands, but the chill out factor here is huge. Three beer gardens (on the street, out the back, and on the roof) make this a warm weather beauty. We also like the food here - just good fashioned pub grub with our highlight being the Mexican Parma. The horseshoe bar is ideal for propping a pint and reading a paper too!
28. Catfish, Fitzroy.
Craft beers? Check. Bands? Check. Cheese steaks? Check. Gertrude Street always feels like it’s changing but it’s good to know that the Catfish (and Gertrude Brown Couch) before it is going to offer you a sound time. Head to the tiny beer garden and talk to strangers we say.
27. Morning Star Hotel, Williamstown.
Have we told you that we love the Williamstown backstreets? We have? Well we are saying it again. This old-school boozer is a country pub in the hub. Family friendly with a games room, we like the stooling up on the front bar, or hanging out in the big beer garden to the side. Go the bangers and mash!
26. Carwyn Cellars, Thornbury.
With arguably the best beer list in the city with 28 rotating taps, this former bottle shop, is now our favourite place in Thornbury. We used to think it was a little pricey when it first opened but recently the prices have come down to match other beer venues around town. Still being a bottle shop you can grab some at the front and take them to the beer garden for a small corkage fee. There is usually a food truck out the back too. They just need a happy hour!
25. Charles Weston Hotel, Brunswick.
Gotta love an old historic backstreet pub that has been given a bit of life. The Charles Weston (formally the Sporting Club Hotel) has the right balance of old timer's pub mixed with new Brunswick hipster. It's the kind of all-purpose place where getting a meal, seeing a band, or necking pints in the beer garden can all be done successfully. It's what all backstreet pubs should aspire to. It’s also in our Top 5 of where to take a first date.
24. Standard Hotel, Fitzroy.
We love the backstreet location. We love the exterior that resembles a bum bar from the 1930s. We love the beer garden that nobody would expect. But what we love the most is the comfy front bar (filled with Fitzroy FC memorabilia) where locals congregate and talk about footy and local music in equal parts. It's a special place that we need to go weekly to feel…..balanced. They just need some specials!
23. Gem Hotel, Collingwood.
Appropriately named, the Gem is a rockabilly type pub that many call Collingwood's real local. It's the kind of place where tattooed couples tie their sheepdogs outside and talk about their graphic design jobs inside. The small front bar is a haven for many locals looking to get in from the cold, while the backroom eating area (food is top notch by the way) is good for groups. It's also one of the best bars around just to prop yourself on and there is no TV to be distracted. A sound choice for people wanting to catch up.
22. Tote Hotel, Collingwood.
You know those house parties that become a blur of cushioned rooms, loud tunes, sticky carpet and hand soap? Well that's the Tote. Just a few weeks ago I came here on a Sunday arvo and saw a dozen bands play in the front bar, the cobra lounge upstairs and the main band room. Myriad of styles with differing audiences all getting along in harmony. We also come here after work a few times a month, because the jukebox is awesome and the front bar is old school. Everyone is crap at pool. I was overseas when the whole "Save the Tote" thing was on, but as a pretty passive person, it would have got me off the bar stool to protest in Spring St for sure. It also played host to the happiest decade, our 10th birthday, which says a lot. Thank you Tote.
21. Labour in Vain Hotel, Fitzroy.
In a way, the Labour in Vain is the new kid on the block. Despite opening in the 1850s, from 1926 to 1998 it was a shop, so for many alive today, the Vain is only 20 odd years old. What we love about the place is the music…scratch that…the free music that occurs at 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. It's when the pool table on wheels is moved, the speakers are plugged in, and local acts get the place jumping. Rock royalty such as JVG Guitar Method and Spinal Tap look-a-like Large Number 12s are regular acts and have a firm following. Another aspect to why we love it is the owners. The Leopoldseder family obviously enjoy what they do. From the patriarch, Roman, who regularly jumps behind the drums to play a few sets, to his two daughters who run a tight ship behind the bar..it has a type of old country pub feel.