Smith St and beyond: the best pubs and bars in Collingwood
09.07.2021

Smith St and beyond: the best pubs and bars in Collingwood

The Gasometer - image supplied
Words by Kate Streader

Grab a beer, sip a wine or catch some live music in one of Melbourne’s favourite nightlife precincts.

Bordered by Alexandra Parade, Hoddle Street, Victoria Parade, and Smith Street, this pocket-sized suburb is home to a bunch of craft breweries, boutique bars, and some of Melbourne’s most iconic live music venues.

With so many places to grab a pint, there’s no wonder Collingwood has its own dedicated Beer Trail.

Yes, pubs and bars are aplenty here, but the key is knowing where to find them. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favourite spots to grab a drink when you’re in the neighbourhood.

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Smith Street

The Grace Darling

One of Melbourne’s oldest pubs, this two-storey bluestone beauty has called Smith Street home since the 19th century. A Melbourne institution, The Grace Darling is both a live music hotspot and a laidback space for dinner and drinks. From the atmospheric, candle-lit bar to the speakeasy-style bandroom in the basement, this old pub is so damn striking.

Find The Grace Darling at 114 Smith Street, Collingwood. 

The Craft & Co.

Established in 2015, The Craft & Co. offers the full banquet of alcoholic beverages spanning beers, wines and spirits. How they do it? We have no idea, and the only way to understand more about this alluring operation is to pay them a visit. They’ll also treat you to a tasty feed. Ummmm, yes.

Find The Craft & Co. at 390 Smith Street.

Hippo Bottle & Bar

Part independent bottleshop, part bar, The Hippo has a huge selection of craft beers and boutique spirits and wines so you can try before you buy. Pop in for a drink or two and stock up your home bar in one hit, it’s the perfect set-up.

Find Hippo Bottle & Bar at 290 Smith Street. 

The Gasometer

From its blood-red exterior to the retractable roof over the main bandroom, the building housing The Gaso is somewhat of an attraction. Throw in a roster of ripper gigs, a comfy bar space and plenty of room to just hang out, and you’ve got the whole package.

Find The Gasometer at 484 Smith Street. 

 

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Fixation Brewing

An urban brewery within an industrial warehouse specialising in IPAs, Fixation Brewing gives big Melbourne vibes right down to its list of Collingwood-themed specialty brews. Ride the 86 on over, park yourself on the Smith Street seats, and grab a pint of Easey Street. It doesn’t get much more local than that.

Find Fixation Brewing at 414 Smith Street. 

Robert Burns Hotel

The ol’ Robbie Burns. Connoisseurs in delivering a classic local pub experience, this venue meets all the requirements for a cosy winter weekend adventure. Supporting local brewers while delivering a fantastic menu brimming with options. Fanging for a parma? Treat yourself to the ‘Bobby’s Parma’. What about a pasta dish? Well, they’ve got you sorted with a delicious pappardelle strewn with slow braised beef, tomato, black pepper and chilli. Yum!

Find Robert Burns Hotel at 376 Smith Street.

Johnston Street

Thank You Bar

If you didn’t know it was there, you’d probably walk right past Thank You Bar, but we recommend keeping your eye out next time you’re on Johnston Street with no place to be. There’s always something happening, whether it’s pool in the courtyard, DJs on the decks or a collaboration with one of the surrounding eateries. There are a bunch of yummy beers, wines and cocktails on the menu, too.

Find Thank You Bar at 210 Johnston Street. 

 

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Nighthawks

Nighthawks is the kind of place where you feel comfortable to drop in by yourself and sink a pint while you read or sit back and take it all in. Upstairs, you’re likely to find a gig featuring back-to-back stellar local acts while downstairs, you can soak up whatever the DJ is spinning. Either way, the tunes are always sublime.

Find Nighthawks at 136 Johnston Street. 

 

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The Tote

There’s only one word to describe The Tote: iconic. The venue has been standing since 1876, though it was known as the Ivanhoe Hotel until it became a live music venue in 1980. Not only is it rich in history, it’s got endless character. Yeah, she’s a bit rough around the edges, but that’s all part of her allure. There’s just something ineffably special about The Tote.

Find The Tote at 61-71 Johnston Street. 

 

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The Bendigo Hotel 

Collingwood’s home of metal, punk, and rock’n’roll, The Bendigo Hotel is a rough-as-guts dive bar where you can catch raucous gigs most nights of the week. Don’t be dissuaded by its gritty facade, The Bendi is as welcoming and inclusive as they come.

Find the Bendigo Hotel at 125 Johnston Street. 

 

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Wellington Street

The Gem

Taking out the title of my dad’s favourite pub in Melbourne, largely due to the unpretentious vibe and affable bar staff, The Gem is Collingwood’s own little slice of Americana. A homage to the honkytonk bars of America’s southern states, it’s fitted out with ranch-style furniture and shrines to Elvis Presley. For a generous happy hour, Texas-style BBQ and one of the meanest Bloody Marys in town, The Gem’s the way to go.

Find The Gem at 289 Wellington Street. 

 

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The Fox

A truly traditional Melbourne pub, The Fox is a no-frills watering hole with an expansive offering of Australian booze and uncomplicated pub fare. Friendly, cosy and effortlessly eccentric, this converted pub is just bloody charming.

Find The Fox at 351 Wellington Street.

Molly Rose Brewing

If you’re yet to acquaint yourself with Molly Rose, it’s time to introduce yourself. The small Wellington Street brewery was envisioned as a space for sharing good drinks and food with friends and that’s exactly what you can expect. Not just for beer enthusiasts, the tap list is complemented by a range of delicious wines and cocktails, plus there are a bunch of bougie share plates on the menu.

Find Molly Rose Brewing at 279 Wellington Street. 

Off the beaten track

Goldy’s Tavern

Formerly home to Chopper Read’s favourite pub, Leinster Arms Hotel, the freshly-opened Goldy’s Tavern has been quickly embraced by locals. The revamped space maintains a distinct dive bar charm, albeit with a polished finish. Pull up a stool at the bar, nestle into one of the armchairs by the open fire, or set yourself up at the pool table, but get down early because this much-loved haunt fills up fast on weekends.

Find Goldy’s Tavern at 66a Gold Street. 

The Mill Brewery

Tucked away just off Smith Street, The Mill Brewery is a small craft brewery housed in a quaint industrial warehouse. They’ve got a rotating roster of specialty and core brews on tap and a menu stacked with gourmet pizzas and nibbles.

Find The Mill Brewery at 40 Sackville Street. 

 

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Paradise Alley

Sprawling across a plant-filled alley and an old shared warehouse on Easey Street, Paradise Alley boasts a homely vibe, an impressive (and affordable) wine list and a slate of local craft brews, including their own creations. You can grab food from the neighbouring Little Latin Lucy, too, if you’re feeling peckish.

Find Paradise Alley at 25 Easey Street. 

Stomping Ground

If you’re a beer drinker, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up a sixer of Stomping Ground from the bottle-o or wrapped your lips around a pint of one of their brews at a pub around town, but their Collingwood brewery is an experience in and of itself. The massive former factory houses a beer hall, sun deck, beer garden, and windows to the brewery so you can watch the brewing process unfold. With an everchanging selection of over 25 craft beers on tap, there’s plenty of reason to keep coming back.

Find Stomping Ground at 100 Gipps Street. 

Still thirsty? Check out our guide to the best bars in Preston