The Beast


Get the latest from Beat

The Beast

Brunswick East, VIC

As Brunny’s favourite rowdy gig venue meets American-style diner and dive, the Beast has grown in fame as a northside hub for live music.

They’ve hosted over a thousand free shows in the past decade while slinging house cocktails and indie brews alongside some of the best burgers in Melbourne. They’re a night out that spills music and revelry into Lygon Street, and your local hangover cure (spicy bloody Maria and a double Ron Swanson burger will always do the trick.)

Their promise? Always free entry, always great vibes.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

And that whole energy is what, to Beast Executive Chef Jarrod Moore, makes this such a damn special spot.

“Wandering in and saying hi to the staff here feels like having a beer with old mates,” Jarrod says. “Beast has become the neighbourhood’s local rec room riot. And everyone’s invited.”

And after ten years of bringing booze, burgs and bangin’ tunes to the good folks of Brunswick, the Beast is set to become bigger and better than ever.

“The Beast have hosted the likes of Courtney Barnett, Moju, Bog Log III, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Drunk Mums and hundreds of other artists from here and abroad,” Jarrod says. “Next, the Beast will be opening a new bandroom above the current venue in early 2023. Watch this space.”

With this expansion, the Beast will be even more of an entertainment powerhouse, with more shows, more of the comedy circuit, and everyone from indie artists to big name tours.

While the free live gigs have always been the beating heart of its offering, they’re far from the only events packed into the regular calendar that includes trivia, community fundraisers, luchadores wrestling, movie nights, mini-festivals, even the occasional pup pub crawl.

It’s fair to say that when it comes to entertainment, the Beast is an overachiever. And this vast, varied offering is precisely what has made the Beast appeal so broadly to Brunswick and beyond. Something for everyone.

This energy is reflected in the iconic decor. Punk rock, rough and tumble, a lively mishmash of collected paraphernalia, setlists, artworks and stickers, trellis greenery and posters slapped over the exposed brick. It’s like a tattoo collage of a decade of booze-fueled good times. And those have been some pretty memorable times.

“One year, a  buffalo head (nicknamed ‘Brian’) that was previously mounted to the wall of the venue was stolen,” Jarrod says. “The Beast started a campaign called ‘Brian Come Home’ to return the buffalo to its rightful home, and a local beer company replaced him. Brian sits in his pride of place on the Beast wall to this day.”

Speaking of beer, stop by and you’ll find a solid line-up of independent, mostly local, craft brews across the spectrum, by tap and tinnie. The cocktail specials offer fresh riffs from the brilliant creative minds of the team.

“Our crew work alongside local brewers and distillers – and our punters’ tastes – to keep things fresh,” Jarrod says. “The bar team infuse their own shrubs and flavoured spirits, use housemade syrups and are always happy to suggest a bangin’ booze match for your meal. Good booze, good banter.”

And the meals? Well, the unapologetically full-throttle American fare is inspired by owner Maz Salt and Jarrod’s exposure to the flavours of New Orleans and the deep South on their travels. But while a burg stacked with bacon and a mac ‘n’ cheese croquette and dripping with melty cheese and ranch (that’s the Holy Cheezus, if you’re interested) just sounds like the most magnificent comfort food, all the ingredients and execution at the Beast are top tier.

The beef in those patties? Boutique Mayura Station wagyu. The sauce dripping down your fingers? House made. All on artisan potato rolls. And vegans don’t have to miss out on the premium burgs either, with plant-based representation on the core menu. Plus, this gets dialled up on the regular Meat Free Mondays, which see menu collabs with the likes of Hamsa Hummus.

“We make sure the Beast is never boxed in as just a burger hub,” Jarrod says. “The food offerings stretch over many different styles and cuisines, including 48 hour slow cooked ribs, pork belly sliders and chorizo mac’n’cheese on Thursdays and vegan shawarma flatbreads, smoked hummus and zaatar eggplant chips on Mondays. And the Bottomless Beast Feast every second Sunday includes non-stop smokey buffalo wings, burger sliders, cheesy loaded poutine, booze and more.”

It’s a menu as vibrant and eclectic as Brunswick itself. And their spicy collabs let them support Aussie-made indie hot sauces.

“On Thursdays, there’s ‘You Bloody Reaper’ – a day entirely dedicated to chili, currently heroing delicious sauces by WA’s Dingo Sauce Co, recently featured on Hot Ones,” Jarrod says.

The Beast definitely has a penchant for spice, from spicy margs to hot wings and the iconic ‘Reaper’ burger. That Reaper packs five of the hottest chillies in the world, and proudly features in the regular challenge tackled by chili enthusiasts, competitive eaters and even footballer Dane Swan.

“We’re the original home of Australia’s largest Chilli Eating Championship, now in its seventh year,” Jarrod says. “Greg Barlow, the Beast’s former refrigeration technician, entered the competition a few years ago. He’s gone on to win international titles and earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.”

In spite of the renovations, they’re definitely not slowing down in the months ahead. Expect fundraisers and takeovers, gigs and themed parties, local zine releases and international acts. Variety is the spice of life, and there are few places that go harder on this motto than the Beast. Especially the spice part.

(Additional info on the events calendar)

Meat Free Mondays – A long-standing tradition, the menu rotates every few months. The recent collab with Hamsa Hummus Bar created a special vegan Middle Eastern street food menu.

Trivia Tuesdays – Hosted by the renowned Funky Bunch Entertainment, the Beast has been running Trivia since its inception.It’s free, starting at 8pm every Tuesday. Grab $9 Kaiju pints from 7pm-9pm.

Wings Wednesdays – From 12pm-9pm The Beast offers $1 smokey buffalo and southern fried chicken wings with a huge range of house-made dipping sauces.

You Bloody Reaper Thursdays – This collab with Mat’s Hot Shop spotlights Aussie hot sauce labels via a special chilli-infused menu every Thursday from 12pm-9pm. The current featured brand is Freemantle spice warriors, Dingo Sauce Co. The sauces are also available for grabs in store.

Bottomless Sundays – At 2pm-3:45pm every second Sunday, frozen margaritas, zesty cocktails, frosty beer, wine, juicy wagyu beef and cauliflower fritter burger sliders, cheesy loaded poutine, and smokey buffalo wings are all on offer for the bottomless lunch. Tickets are pre-purchased on Eventbrite