Retreat Hotel

Retreat Hotel

Brunswick, VIC

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While the rest of the country has spent the last decade turning classic hotels into generic neon-lit nightmares, Melbourne has embraced the old-world charm of its locals.

The Retreat embodies this throwback aesthetic. Built in 1846, it hasn’t seen a whole lot of change over the last 150 years. Judging by the decor, the Retreat had its last major renovation sometime in the early ’80s. The vinyl chairs and couches in the main bar are certainly vintage classics. The rest of the decor follows a similar line. It’s like taking a step back in time. Maybe The Retreat is stuck in some sort of space/time warp? One that appears to be inhabited by many bars and hotels located north of the city. But even by Melbourne pub standards it’s old fashioned – and therein lies the appeal.

If you’re looking for a no-thrills pub to sink a few beers, eat a pub lunch and reminisce about classic Australian soap operas from the 1980s, this is the place. Judging by the amount of folks in the beer garden each weekend, that seems to be a regular plan. It’s not unlike walking onto the set of Kingswood Country/Richmond Hill, et al. Mind you, the music is much better when the live bands set up shop outside.