The best pubs and bars in Fitzroy: Brunswick St, Johnston St and more

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The best pubs and bars in Fitzroy: Brunswick St, Johnston St and more

Fitzroy bars and pubs - Naked for Satan
Words by Benjamin Lamb

Here's our list of the best pubs and bars in Fitzroy, so you can go grab a beer, enjoy a wine, down some pub food or catch some live music in this Melbourne’s nightlife hotspot.

In our comprehensive guide to the best Fitzroy pubs and bars, we’ve packed in some old classics, post-covid newbies, and some hidden gems that you probably didn’t know about, but need to know.

There’s something for all types of bar-goers, whether you’re keen for some rum or a cigar, a pub meal, some fine dining, or even some spots for those wannabe Karaoke singers out there.

Check out some info about all the spots below, book in a visit, and maybe even find your new favourite local. If you’re keen to check out some of our other guides to Melbourne’s best places for a beer, check out our list of the best bars and pubs in Windsor.

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

Johnston St

Rochester Hotel

– Address: 202 Johnston St
– Vibe: Casual, great for laid back catchups
– Live Music: DJs and live comedy
– Dedicated menu: Pub grub and great cocktails

According to their website, this pub is dedicated to bringing customers three things: Eating, Drinking and Partying. Generally speaking, they’re great at achieving the above, and with a menu that covers Dim Sims, Schnitzels and finger foods, you’ll definitely find something you like.

And as seems to be the case with a lot of bars and pubs on this list, The Rochey’s got some awesome cocktails, featuring a great selection of old classics like Aperol Spritz.

The Shady Lady

– Address: 36 Johnston St
– Vibe: Laid back and quirky
– Live Music: Karaoke and acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Cocktails and drinks

The Shady Lady is like the epitome of Melbourne culture. It’s got a killer indoor vibe, with an outdoor beer garden perfect for those warmer summer days.

They’ve got some awesome things on offer, including some boozy snowcones, perfect for an easy cool down. They’ve also got some regular live music happening, or if you’re keen to lend a hand on the stage, they have a regular karaoke night, which is perfect after a couple of beers.

They’ve got some great cheap cocktails too, and a range that’s worth mentioning is called The Breakfast All Day range, and it features some wacky drinks, these are things like Mega Mimosa’s, which has bubbles, ice and OJ. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous is the Michelada which contains lager, ice, lime, hot sauce, and tomato juice, which seems like it’d give a very interesting kick indeed.

The Old Bar


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– Address:74-76 Johnston St
– Vibe: Totally Melbourne
– Live Music: Shit yeah, 7 days per week

The Old Bar is a Fitzroy institution and unquestionably one of the coolest bars in Melbourne, with this exceptionally authentic, understated and comfortable vibe. The people you meet here and the bands and solo artists you’ll see in the bandroom are salt-of-the-earth Melbourne music legends, every one of them.

They also try out some funky activities to broaden the horizons, they’ve got their own mini-gallery, they run a Pottery and Pot class, they’ve got their own computer game, you name it. Definitely worth a suss…as if you haven’t been there already.

Brunswick St

Naked for Satan

– Address: 285 Brunswick St
– Vibe: Startling

– Dedicated menu: Varied

With pornography on the walls and one of the best rooftop bars (Naked in the Sky) in Melbourne, there’s perhaps no more famous bar across this great city than Naked for Satan. It oozes funky bohemia, it’s always packed, there’s a very solid sit-down food menu and an excellent range of drinks. The only downside is that bloody elevator.

The Workers Club

– Address: 51 Brunswick St
– Vibe: Divey, but with great charm
–  Live Music: Some of Australia’s best musos before they become big
– Dedicated menu: Pub classics

You can’t have a list of Fitzroy bars and pubs without mentioning The Workers Club. It’s been a staple of the Melbourne music scene for a number of years and has helped start the careers of some of our favourite musicians today.

They’re putting on heaps of amazing shows over the next few weeks, from acts like Static Motion, JK-47 and To The Grave, many performers across a variety of different genres so there’s no doubt something will be up your alley. The Workers also hold awesome pub specials and events, there’s things like the classic trivia, which happens every Tuesday at 8, and some awesome kitchen deals, which includes a $15 lunch special.

On top of that, there’s some great drink deals, like pots for $2, and many more cool things to dive into over at their website above.

Bar Open

– Address:317 Brunswick Street 
– Vibe: Rough and ready
–  Live Music: Six nights per week

Bar Open is a Fitzroy legend, a mainstay of Melbourne’s live music scene for 24 years that supports a huge array of genres. With art and mural splashed walls and a general decor and clientele that screams ‘You’re in Fitzroy, welcome home’, it’s no wonder that Bar Open is one of those venues that people associate with unique Melbourne culture. It has a delightful beer garden, a cozy fireplace, an upper level and an improv night, but you really need to head here to experience it for yourself.

Lord Newry Hotel

– Address: 51 Brunswick St
– Vibe: Divey, but with great charm
–  Live Music: Some of Australia’s best musos before they become big
– Dedicated menu: Pub classics

The Lord Newry pub is a Fitzroy staple, that has quickly become one of the best in the region. They’re slinging some killer drinks and food to the many patrons that make their way through the green doors.

They put together some awesome food for your enjoyment, things like Veggie pizzas, Meat pizzas, and bigger meals like a Portobello Mushroom burger, a T-bone steak, and the pub classics like chicken schnitzel and fish and chips.

The Rooks Return

– Address: 201 Brunswick St
– Vibe: Trendy, laid back digs with great live music
–  Live Music: All types of music
– Dedicated menu: Beers

The Rooks Return is one of the coolest spots in Fitzroy, it’s unlike anything else out there, it’ll feel like you’ve walked into a mate’s house.

There’s no drama, no hustle and bustle, The Rooks Return is simply just a laid back joint where patrons can enjoy some great atmosphere alongside some mates. There’s not a heap online about this spot, so you better head there today to check it out. You can, however, dive into a little bit more about this venue over on their socials here.

Bonny – Bar and Kitchen

– Address: 177 Brunswick St
– Vibe: Laid back with amazing food
– Dedicated menu: Changing roster, currently Asian inspired.

If you’re looking for a venue among the best Fitzroy bars and pubs that focuses on sustainability, look no further than Bonny Bar and Kitchen.

They’ve got a pretty cool program on the food side, every year, they get on a new chef to showcase their work for three months. At the time of writing, Teage Ezard is their current chef, who has worked at some of Sydney and Melbourne’s top spots. He’s offering some cool light-but-filling stuff like vermicelli salads with grilled pork.

The Rum Diary

– Address: 334 Brunswick St
– Vibe: Laid back but with a bit of hustle and bustle

– Live Music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Drinks only, lots of rum

Yes, as the name suggests, this haunt is dedicated to all things rum. They stock a whopping 200 different types of rum, so there’s no doubt you’ll find one up your alley. If you’re not a rum fan, there’s no question that when you leave, you would’ve found your new favourite drink. The staff at this spot will truly make sure you have a great time and find a rum to your liking.

They’ve got no food, but there’s no need for it, there’s a heap of amazing drinks on top of their flight of rums, they’ve got great cocktails, beer, seltzers, wines, and even a selection of cigars. Dive into their menu over on their website here.

Labour in Vain

– Address: 197A Brunswick St
– Vibe: Chilled, no stress establishment
Live Music: Free music across all different genres
– Dedicated menu: BYO / Order food

Labour in Vain is a cool little hole in the wall that’ll make you feel at home immediately as you walk through the doors. They’re dedicated to great live music, great service, and offering some amazing drinks.

They’ve also got a killer beer garden, great for a summer catchup over a pint or two. Labour in Vain also currently have no food on offer, but you’re able to order food in from your favourite local joint. It also bears mentioning that there’s a heap of amazing music acts hitting the Labour in Vain stage on a regular basis, and it’s completely free!

Smith St

Kent St Bar

– Address: 201 Smith St
– Vibe: Cool quirky spot that has an interesting flavour.
– Dedicated menu: Drinks.

Kent St Bar is nestled away on Smith St, and is one of the coolest spots you’ll head to on this list. This bar puts on some pretty cool events on a regular basis, according to their website, they’ve done some cool things like Life Drawing, Trivia, and a whole lot more that you can keep track of over on their website.

There’s not a lot online about this bar, so check out some images over on their socials here.

The best bars and pubs in the rest of Fitzroy

The Standard Hotel

– Address: 293 Fitzroy St
– Vibe: Laid back with amazing food
– Live Music: Classic Rock. Acoustic, lots more.
– Dedicated menu: Changing roster, currently Asian inspired.

The Standard Hotel is one of the best Fitzroy bars and pubs, and it’s the definition of a hidden gem.

Unlike some other pubs out there, The Standard’s actually got some pretty cool beers on tap, these are things like Young Henrys, Wolf of The Willows, and even the classic Melbourne Bitter. All of which sound great to enjoy in their amazing beer garden.

There’s some pretty cool food too, steak sandwiches, grilled kangaroo, and even an eggplant parma. Check out their full menu here.

Marquis of Lorne

– Address: 411 George St
– Vibe: Amazing service, and great fun
— Live Music: Acoustic
– Dedicated menu: Fine dining

Marquis of Lorne is a pretty upper-class joint that is quickly becoming one of the fanciest Fitzroy bars and pubs.

Their menu has some pretty cool things featured, these are things like ocean trout, salt and pepper tofu, and even swordfish!. They’ve also got a bunch of awesome function packs, so you can hold all those missed parties during lockdown. Check out all their awesome function packs here.

Their amazing rooftop section of the Marquis of Lorne, that’ll give you a stunning view of Melbourne skyline, and while downing a pint? – sounds like a great way to spend the afternoon.

The Rainbow Hotel

– Address: 27 St David St
– Vibe: Laid back, trendy.
— Live Music: Classic music
– Dedicated menu: Pub grub with a modern spin.

This is one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs, first coming into action around 1869. They have some of the city’s best food, beer and vibes, and when coupled with some amazing service from their staff, The Rainbow is quickly becoming one of Melbourne’s coolest venues.

They have a whopping 100 beers for you to enjoy, perfect for these warmer times. There’s literally every type of beer, so there’s no doubt you’ll find something that’s up your alley. Of course, their food is awesome too, there’s some rare breed porterhouses, cheese steak sandwiches, and a whole heap more.

Ends and Means

– Address: 79 Gertrude St
– Vibe: Laid back
– Dedicated menu: Cocktails, cocktails and more cocktails

If you’re a fan of cocktails, look no further than Ends and Means, one of Melbourne’s premier spots. They’ve got some really cool cocktails, and if you find your new favourite, some of the cocktails are available to buy takeaway. It comes in cans and only costs an easy $22.

They’ve got some Aussie Open inspired cocktails at the moment, each named after our amazing tennis players, to name a few, the Ash Barty and the Alex De Minaur. On top of that, if you really fall in love with this joint, you can grab some merch, there are t-shirts, jumpers and more.

The Everleigh

– Address: Level 1/150-156 Gertrude St
– Vibe: Old school English style
– Dedicated menu: Cocktails

It’s clear from many points on this list the one thing that Fitzroy bars and pubs do well is cocktails, and The Everleigh is no different. It’s a pretty classy joint that transports you back to the early 30s or 40s into an English salon. They’ve got some killer cocktails that you can also grab online too if you fall in love with them, or if you’re in quarantine and don’t want to miss out. Check out the shop here. There’s no need to book in here, all walk ins are welcome.

St Andrews Hotel

– Address: 124 Nicholson St
– Vibe: Modern Melbourne at its finest
– Dedicated menu: An amazing variety of steaks and pub classics

The St Andrews Hotel is another fantastic venue to round out this list of the best Fitzroy bars and pubs, dedicated to giving some amazing service, food and drinks to their many loyal customers. One look at their socials, and it’ll show you how amazing this place looks. They’re clearly experts in making a good-looking drink or good-looking food item.

Like all classy spots, they’re also great at curating an impeccable menu, this one featuring a full page of mouth – watering steaks. There’s things like a 350g Porterhouse direct from local producers. They’ve also got a rare Black Onyx Steak, which is sourced from a rare cattle in Queensland, that they note is perfect for those who consider themselves ‘beef connoisseurs’.

Check them out here.