Have you had a Footscray adventure yet?
As the population of the inner west suburb of Footscray explodes, here are the burgeoning and eclectic venues transforming its nightlife, from a local Footscrayan himself.
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The first bar to make their stamp on Barkly St, Littlefoot is the perfect venue to enjoy a meticulously-crafted cocktail and some delicious homemade Italian cuisine. A stylish bar and funky interior fitted with an iconic Footscray neon sign sets the mood inside, while a spacious beer garden has grown even bigger after the pandemic. Littlefoot also hosts music events and DJs, with past performers including Melbourne’s very own prince of soul, Vince Peach.
223 Barkly St, Footscray. More info here.
Opened in 2017, Mr. West is a double-storied establishment with a pristine bar on top and diverse bottle shop downstairs. The bar is a particular highlight, with the monumental wooden serving area stretching out to a comfortable beer garden. With 24 taps for beer, wine and cider, as well as a top selection of international and Australian spirits, Mr. West has you covered if you’re looking for a casual beverage or something of the highest quality, either sitting in or takeaway.
106 Nicholson St, Footscray. More info here.
Appropriately named, Sloth is your quintessential dive bar in the best possible way as friendly staff and cheap drinks create a relaxed, easy-going vibe. Thursdays are the best nights to find yourself in the dimly-lit front room as you can catch entertaining local musicians, poets and performers stepping up on Open Mic night. The back beer garden is ideal for socialising with friends, or you can sit upstairs on the balcony with some takeaway food and look down on Barkly St like royalty from above.
202 Barkly St, Footscray. Check ’em out here.
Bar Josephine and Trouble in Dreams
Another one of Footscray’s must visits for craft beer enthusiasts. Decked out with a laidback and zany interior, Bar Josephine offers 12 revolving taps including an assortment of local, weird and wonderful hop-laced beverages. The Wednesday drink specials are an institution, which you can enjoy whilst sitting in an old bus seat or in the peaceful beer garden. A new intimate cocktail bar, Trouble in Dreams, has popped up just next door too.
Back Alley Sally’s
Tucked down a laneway near the Maribyrnong River resides Back Alley Sally’s. Founded by the creators of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Back Alley’s lies in an old abandoned warehouse also containing a beer garden, pizza shop and grocers. Venture up the stairs and slide into a cosy booth where you can order pizza, nachos and toasties made downstairs by Slice Girls West. Get down on Tuesdays for half-price pizza (they’re bloody good!) and trivia on a Wednesday.
4 Yewers St, Footscray. Find out more.
Branded as Footscray’s neighbourhood sports bar, Chip’s Loft certainly lives up to the hype by delivering multiple TV screens and enough space to gather with friends. Whether it’s the footy, NBA or UFC, Chip’s Loft has you covered. Situated upstairs in the heart of Footscray, the bar is decked with an assortment of beers, wine and spirits, while the kitchen serves all your essential sports food such as tacos, burritos and nachos.
116a Hopkins St, Footscray. More info here.
Pubs/Live Music Venues
James Young, owner of Cherry Bar and Yah Yah’s, has revitalised the old Reverence Hotel as Hotel Westwood. Since opening its doors in February, the Westwood has already established itself as the home of live music in Footscray with bands playing most nights of the week. Even if live music isn’t your thing, you can sit next to the fireplace and munch on Mexican food, relax in the beer garden or sit in the good old fashioned front bar to watch the footy and play pool.
28 Napier St, Footscray. Get amongst it here.
Revitalised by the same peeps who transformed the Builders Arms Hotel in Fitzroy, the Victoria Hotel is a throwback to the pubs of yesteryear whilst maintaining a contemporary feel. Greeted by an enormous ringed bar, The Vic is a place for both young and old, and is somewhere you can enjoy a few drinks and some quality food, either inside or within the quaint beer garden.
43 Victoria St, Footscray. Check ’em out here.
Pride of our Footscray
Unequivocally Footscray’s most effervescent and fun-filled nightspot, the Pride of our Footscray is a LGBTIQ+ bar which also acts as a performance and exhibition space. There is always something happening at Pride; from poetry to drag shows to karaoke, live music and dancing, or if you’re looking for a quieter night, you can always play pool and catch the Doggies on the TV. With a closing time of 3am on weekends, late-night boogies are certified.
1/86-88 Hopkins St, Footscray. Check ’em out here.
The newest addition to the 3011, Baby Snakes serves drinks and sandwiches in the afternoon but it really comes to life when the sun sets. Take a walk up the colourful staircase, chill out on the rooftop courtyard or dance the night away – Baby Snakes is Footscray’s party paradise. Mike Gurrieri, host of the excellent PBS 106.7FM show Mystic Brew, is the resident DJ and music booker so you’re guaranteed to hear some fine tunes spinning late into the night.
30 Chambers St, Footscray. Find out more here.
If you’re thinking about checking out Footscray nightlife, there’s no better time to do so than during the upcoming West Set festival, taking place from August 19 to August 29. More info on that here.