The Railway - Brunswick

The Railway - Brunswick

Indoor and outdoor bars, two restaurants and a late-night vinylspinning cocktail bar.

Food, Drink, Pub, Coffee, Beer Garden, Restaurant, Lounge, Band Room, Nightclub, Comedy, Cabaret, Live Entertainment, DJ's, Backpackers' Accommodation.

Railway Hotel Brunswick becomes The Railway says

First Look: Brunswick's Notorious Railway Hotel Makes a Triumphant Return as a 965-Person Mega-Pub

After a drug bust and fall from grace, the north-side institution is back - with a new look and owner. It includes an Eastern Mediterranean diner, a late-night vinyl-only bar and a sprawling beer garden.

Brunswick's Railway Hotel has long been a north-side institution. And the three-storey, nearly 140-year-old pub on Albert Street has one hell of a backstory. It's served as a morgue and a hostel - among other things - in its long lifetime.

Most recently, and memorably, it was a pub. But the good times stopped rolling in 2016 when it closed following a drug bust. The towering pub fell into disrepair - but then came Melbourne hospitality collective Riverland Group (The Boatbuilders Yard, Riverland, Pilgrim, the General Assembly, Bang Bang at the Rifle Club to save it.

There were some unusual discoveries during the reno, including a secret staircase, a "Harry Potter room" and a shower that's not as it seems. (Read all about them here.) But now, after almost six years, it's been gloriously resurrected as Hotel Railway, a 965-person mega-pub.

The revamp is major. Every sprawling storey had been ransacked, supposedly by people looking for remnants of the building's past. So, it took years of work for the graffiti, damaged floors and smashed windows to be replaced by crisp, textured white walls, polished timber floorboards and terracotta accents.

Despite the new look, Riverland Group co-owner Richie Ludbrook doesn't want to abandon the pub's roots. It still feels lived in. "There's a lot going on here," he says. "But the idea is that we gave the place a facelift, with multiple spaces and food offerings. It's a shame when someone comes in and changes a pub to the point where it's pretentious or forgets what it is, so that's something we kept in mind during the rebuild."

Entering the public bar through a Victorian-era hallway, you'll find slick wooden furnishings and several communal seating areas flooded with natural light. The centrepiece is a striking 17-metre brick bar. Similarly lengthy is the drinks list; there are 12 beers on tap, including Balter XPA, Brick Lane pale ale, Pirate Life acai sour and, for the old-school regulars, Carlton Draught. Rounding out the offering: plenty of bottles and tinnies from Bodriggy, 4 Pines and Mountain Goat, plus VB longnecks.

Cocktail-wise, the list covers the classics as well as a few specials using house ferments and syrups: a macadamia-infused Espresso Martini and an out-of-the-box Beetroot Negroni. Vermouth is another focus - there are more than 30 Aussie-made options.

The first of two food menus centres on classic pub grub; think Wagyu cheeseburgers with fries, chicken schnitzels with slaw, Porterhouse steaks and a handful of pizzas.

Moving into the spacious dining room, there's a second, slightly swankier Eastern Mediterranean menu. "A pub should be a pub, and I firmly believe that," Ludbrook says. "But it's great to have an area you can take Mum on her birthday, go on a date or try something that's reflective of the community it serves - Brunswick has a substantial Mediterranean population, so it's good to dish up a menu that acknowledges that."

Start with smalls like fried cauliflower bites with harissa; barramundi crudo with pickled carrots and pepperoncini; and lamb merguez sausages with baba ganoush and imam bayaldi (stuffed eggplant) relish. Mains are fired over a charcoal rotisserie. The swordfish cutlet with orange chermoula; celeriac shawarma with pita, pickles and hummus; and 400-gram hanger steak with fermented green chilli are standouts.

Alongside the train line, the beer garden's style is adjacent to the menu. European terracotta tiles line the sunlit floor and walls, with greenery scattered throughout. An elevated area is built on the foundations of an old neighbouring townhouse - with the fireplace and part of the brick wall still intact (the remaining bricks were used to line the bar).

There's also a laid-back, late-night corner bar - behind the pub's preserved historical facade - that's licensed until 3am, with dark wood furnishings and vinyl-only DJs.

So far, it's street-level only, but Ludbrook says a few options are on the table for the rest of the building. "The second floor could be great for private functions, as well as a bandroom," he says. "Then another storey up we're thinking about cheap co-working spaces for local creatives - we want it to be a community hub as much as a pub."

Hotel Railway opens on Friday March 11.

Hotel Railway
291 Albert Street, Brunswick

Wed & Thu 4p -late
Fri & Sat 4pm-3am
Sunday 12pm-1am

Source: First Look: Brunswick's Notorious Railway Hotel Makes a Triumphant Return as a 965-Person Mega-Pub

❊ Address ❊

 ℅ Bulleke-bek
 ⊜  291 Albert St Brunswick 3056 View Map
 ✆ Telephone: No phone
291 Albert StBrunswickVictoriaNo phone

❊ Web Links ❊

The Railway - Brunswick 

❊ Also See.. ❊

The Railway Hotel | Fitzroy North

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The Railway - Brunswick