Whether it’s date night at the movies or a journey into the wee hours with live music ringing in your ears, Melbourne’s northern suburbs are home to some of the most fun after-dark experiences.
Hardcore beer lovers and Preston locals have been aware of Tallboy and Moose [270 Raglan Street, Preston] for a while; now it’s your turn. When establishing the brewpub in 2017, the owners made an executive decision to keep the number of beer tanks to just three. It means an evening session here (strolling distance from Bell Station and the number 86 tram) can consist of a multitude of Tallboy and Moose’s flavours, because they make small batches – and lots of ‘em. Pair your beer with some tasty treats from the onsite Wee Man’s Kitchen, specialising in tantalising Scottish fare such as… well, you’d best check for yourself (but trust us, it’s delicious).
Melbourne’s live music scene added another string to its bow when Howler [7–11 Dawson Street, Brunswick] opened, its band room catering to burgeoning local and mid-career international acts most nights. But if you’re coming for a gig, make sure you turn up early to enjoy a drink in the garden bar. The indoor beer garden is staffed with friendly folk keen to kickstart your night in the best way. Monday through Thursday, score yourself an awesome burger, fries and a beer for $16. Even the hip kids who frequent Howler are suckers for a deal like that.
As of April 2019, Humble Harry Roasting Co. [5/1100 Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows] extended its trading hours and is serving awesome dinners — not to mention gelato, which brings visitors from across the northern suburbs — until 11pm, Thursday to Sunday. Its desserts are the stuff of legend so make a beeline to Humble Harry, a coffee roaster that doesn’t require a caffeine addiction to enjoy.
Love sports? Love the vibe of a venue heaving when the best team wins on the siren? Head to Mill Park’s much-loved venue The Sporting Globe [Westfield Plenty Valley, Mill Park] to watch the world’s biggest sporting events on over 50 HD screens and eat more chicken wings than you ever thought possible. Try a variation on the chicken parma (they have five on the menu), flavoured espresso martinis and an enviable range of beers on tap and by the bottle/can.
One of the newest after-dark additions to Sydney Road, Stay Gold [133 Sydney Road, Brunswick] combines the best parts of going out in Melbourne. Live music by some of this city’s best rock’n’roll bands, arcade games and comfy couches for between-set banter all make for an awesome night out with mates. Comedy sessions add to the fun on offer.
Looking for a classy drink but don’t want to spend all night getting to and from your destination? If you’re in Melbourne’s north, Martini & Co [Shop R13/415 McDonalds Road, Mill Park] is the place for you. With quality cocktails from just $10, a warm and inviting atmosphere and a tasty menu to boot, you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit earlier. They also throw a mean private party!
For anyone who’s spent time living or visiting Sunbury, Vic’s [69–71 O’Shanassy Street, Sunbury] is a well-known and much-loved institution. It’s part of what makes the town tick; a meeting place for locals and visitors and the launching pad for conversation, laughter and, of course, great food. The Italian menu hits all the right spots (think gorgonzola gnocchi and melt-in-your-mouth salt and pepper calamari), and a Little Goat Roasters-coffee makes for a perfect end to the evening.
Live music can be found in most pockets of Melbourne, but the recently renovated Northcote Social Club [301 High Street, Northcote] — with its intimate band room, decked (and family-friendly during the daytime) beer garden and welcoming front bar — is one of the best in the city. Big name local and international acts grace the stage most nights of the week and if you’re religious about music, check out its weekly Monday Night Mass which showcases three of Melbourne’s hottest local bands.
Thriving shopping centre by day, entertainment destination by night. Pacific Epping [571–583 High Street, Epping] is a focal point in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, with the onsite Readings Cinema and Timezone drawing crowds until well after the sun sets. Readings has 11 cinemas including two gold lounges for that extra touch of class, showing Hollywood and indie films all week long. For more than a generation, Timezone has been the home of the best arcade games going around. Make a night of it with friends or simply treat yourself to a night of (deserved) fun.
What’s that you’re craving at 3am? Sleep? No! What you need — 24 hours a day — is access to some of the tastiest doughnuts around. Well, in the industrial centre of Campbellfield, you’ll find them at That’s Alotta Donuts [882 Cooper Street, Campbellfield] in flavours like Nutella and peanut butter, jam and cream and Golden Gaytime. With these flavours and more rotating regularly, including vegan options and Coeliac Australia-accredited gluten-free doughnuts that are prepared and packaged in a separate room, you’ll have to return again (and again) to wrap your head around the full range!
The sign for Mr Wilkinson [295 Lygon Street, Brunswick East] is marked simply with a ‘W’, a classy and refined letter representing the fine establishment inside the front door. Perch along the bar or slide into a booth and watch Lygon Street bustle by, as you sip an expertly-made cocktail or sample from the extensive wine, bar or whisky menus. Locals love it, and visitors to Brunswick swoon to its charm every night. When the weather’s warm, the quaint courtyard is one of the suburb’s best.