It’s one of Melbourne’s most famous suburbs, and for good reason. Fitzroy is home to some of the finest cafes and bars in the city, a great shopping strip along Brunswick, Johnson and Gertrude Streets, and some of the very best pubs in the game.
If you’re after an exhaustive list of the best pubs in Fitzroy — written by a local — this is it.
- Boss Hunting’s Favourite Pub In Fitzroy
- The Best Fitzroy Pubs Right Now
- How Boss Hunting Chose Fitzroy’s Best Pubs
Boss Hunting’s Favourite Pub In Fitzroy
Marquis Of Lorne
This Fitzroy classic spans no less than four levels and has only gotten better with every update it’s received over the years, with décor that’s transformed from a hardy beer tavern into an upmarket gastropub. It’s not exactly a sports bar, but if you’re keen on a quiet beer with a couple of mates or a date night with the option of a roaring winter fire, this is where you need to be.
The Best Fitzroy Pubs Right Now
The Birmingham Hotel
The Birmingham Hotel is one of the best Melbourne footy pubs, located in the heart of Fitzroy with solid specials across both schooners and meals. The staff at the Birmy (as it’s affectionately known) are also massive sports fans and with no less than 14 different screens spread across the two-level venue. It’s the perfect spot to watch any game that’s on.
Labour In Vain
If you’re on a pub crawl down the main drag in Fitzroy and you’re set on ending the night at a local favourite, then park yourself up at Labour In Vain. From the sunny rooftop beer garden — where outdoor BBQs aren’t uncommon — to the front bar with regular free live music, it’s hard not to post up here, play a game of pool and watch the trams go by.
Builders Arms Hotel
Builders Arms in Fitzroy is often one of the first venues that comes to mind when people think about a Melbourne pub with some serious culinary chops. That reputation owes to star chef Andrew McConnell who has steered the modernisation of Builders Arms with a great sense of balance, offering upscale pub grub and a great wine list.
Not many pubs can muscle out The Rose, which despite the area’s strong competition has remained one of the most beloved and approachable old-school venues in the inner city.
It’s all dark brickwork and vintage sports posters at this bar, with daily specials scribbled on a chalkboard and a bar staff that know the ins and outs of everything they offer. You don’t last for over 130 years and still maintain that glow without firmly establishing yourself as one of the state’s finest.
The Standard Hotel
Despite what its name might lead you to believe, there’s nothing standard about The Standard Hotel. It’s the kind of pub that you step into and immediately feel like you’re in a friend’s living room, pouring a solid range of tasty beers, and great counter meals, as well as a sizable courtyard that’s a favourite location for locals to watch the AFL.
A gem tucked away in the back streets of Fitzroy, the Napier Hotel has been pouring pints for everyday people for more than a century and a half and remains loved by all for its quality kitchen and cold pints. It’s not the largest pub in Fitzroy, but it swaps scale for intimacy to great effect and serves as the perfect venue to enjoy a beer after work or a couple on the weekend.
The Rainbow Hotel
No matter if you’re hunting for a solid lunch, weekday knock-off drinks, or a spot to enjoy a Sunday afternoon, The Rainbow Hotel will welcome you with open arms and leave you smiling and satisfied. From the large main dining room to the enormous beer garden, there’s almost always a room to find a seat, and if you’re lucky, you might even meet the dog called Twitch who calls The Rainbow Hotel home.
The Workers Club
While The Workers Club is more than capable of serving you up a hearty counter meal and a frosty beer, it’s best known as being one of Fitzroy’s most vibrant live music venues. Almost no matter the day of the week, you’ll probably spot young musicians hauling their instruments in through the back door, so if you love live music, you’ll love The Workers Club.
Union Club Hotel
The Union Club Hotel is one of the oldest pubs in Fitzroy (originally the Collingwood Hotel) and is steeped in the kind of history you feel as soon as you walk through the door, with a central front bar and plenty of rooms tucked away for enjoying a meal. There’s also a beer garden and a second-level “rooftop” garden that are ideal for sinking tinnies when the mercury rises.
Appropriately nicknamed “The Rochy,” the Rochester Hotel is as charismatic as it is unpretentious with bench seating in the large dining room, a main bar where you can perch yourself on a stool and a solidly sized beer garden out the back. The food is great, the beers are tasty, and there’s even a good wine list.
Commercial Club Hotel
Located on a busy part of Nicholson Street, the Commercial Club Hotel is often overlooked for more conveniently located venues, but remains one of the more underrated pubs in Fitzroy. The menu serves great pub fare, you’ll find almost every beer you can hope for on tap, and there are plenty of different spaces to enjoy an afternoon with friends.
How Boss Hunting Chose Fitzroy’s Best Pubs
Growing up in the inner north of Melbourne, Fitzroy and Collingwood was where I spent many of my childhood years and have lived there for three of the last four years. It’s safe to say I know Smith, Brunswick and Gertrude Streets like the back of my hand and have visited all of the pubs on this list many, many times.
For more on how we put together lists like this please have a read of our editorial policy.
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