Retreat Hotel

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Retreat Hotel

Brunswick, VIC

Retreat Hotel

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.

LIVE MUSIC is a staple of the Retreat, taking place every day of the week except for Mondays. Swing by to hear indie, folk, blues, electronic, punk and everything in between. For the bigger acts, the cover fee sits around $15, but there are a ton of free gigs as well.

FAMOUR FOR the massive beer garden out back. Spacious and accommodating, the patio makes for the perfect space for after-work drinks with a big group. It’s half covered and half open air, with umbrellas and heaters to ensure you’re feeling just right.

INFAMOUS FOR the Sunday roast (and roast sandwich), back and better than ever. While pub roasts are pretty standard, this one is like no other, featuring succulent meat with all the fixings and plated beautifully. Expect to leave stuffed.

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.

In the reviews for The Retreat, someone wrote “if Brunswick was a pub then this is it”. We wholeheartedly agree. It shares the same essence of our favourite suburb – a little rough-and-tumble to look at, but warm and social when you step inside and not at all lacking when it comes to quality.

For musos, the Sydney road joint is a lot more than your average pub – it’s a place to show the community what they’ve got. Over the years, the stage has been graced with many a Melbourne legend. The bandroom is loud and high capacity so it can make for a big night depending on who’s on. Minors are welcome until 10 pm if accompanied by an adult, and for the big kids, DJs keep the party going ‘til 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The old-school vibe is a big part of the charm, with a pool table on site, fairy lights twinkling through the courtyard, and a disco ball hanging overhead. On the menu, find elevated pub fair that is made to please everyone, from the vegans to the carnivores.

From the crafty selection of beers to the ever-changing entertainment, we can’t think of anywhere we’d rather sip away the hours on a lazy afternoon.

Head down to 280 Sydney Road, Brunswick for a good time. They’re open from midday, every day.