Melbourne is a coffee-obsessed place, and nowhere is caffeine addiction more visible than Brunswick’s hipster heartland.
There are two items that hipsters need for food, crushed avocado and specialised coffee, and across the streets of Brunswick, they can find both in abundance. In the hip inner-northern neighbourhood of Brunswick, Melbourne, we are here with the best cafes in Brunswick for a caffeine hit, from chic boutique roasteries to charming hole-in-the-wall brunch spots.
Brunswick is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods of Melbourne, host to some of Melbourne’s finest cafes. This is a huge deal for a town obsessed with coffee.
Brunswick is a well-known hotspot owing to its consistency of food and locally grown roasted coffee and attracting crowds from anywhere who can’t ignore the rustic elegance and talent of Brunswick to dish up a tasty smashed avocado. If you didn’t enjoy a nice crushed Avo, will you be a Melbournian?.
It was challenging to pick which ones to include on our list, with many wonderful cafes in Brunswick.
Here are our choices for the best Brunswick cafes.
Wide Open Road
This spacious converted warehouse oozes Scandinavian cool, and the house-roasted coffee is both delicious and responsible, with beans sourced ethically and transparently. Wide Open Road’s all-day brunch menu is just as wholesome as the beans – choose from dishes like cauliflower and quinoa salad, harissa chickpeas, and a nourish bowl loaded with seared tuna, pickled cabbage and ginger greens.
Exuded by this expansive converted factory, and the house-roasted coffee is both tasty and responsible, with ethically and transparently sourced beans. The all-day brunch menu of Wide Open Road is almost as healthy as beans, selecting from dishes such as cauliflower and quinoa salad, harissa chickpeas, and a nutritious bowl filled with seared tuna pickled cabbage, and ginger greens. The healthy menu and exotic interiors make it one of the best Brunswick cafes.
What was once an industrial warehouse has now transformed into one of Brunswick’s trendiest coffee roasters. With cool Scandinavian vibes and a healthy all-day menu to choose from, it’s no wonder it’s one of Brunswick’s hot spots!
This spacious and welcoming cafe is decked out with communal benches and cosy booths to choose from, regardless of your coffee choice – whether it be filter roasts, batch brew or pour over-wide, Open Road has it all. While their coffee is the hero, their food isn’t overlooked. With a wide choice of delicacy focaccias and sandwiches to choose from, it’ll be worth the trip whether you’re a lover of coffee or not.
Before Mark Dundon opened iconic Melbourne cafés Seven Seeds and Brother Baba Budan – as well as Sydney speciality coffee giants Reuben Hills and Paramount Coffee Project – he started with this charming Brunswick institution. Ray’s buzzes with a diverse crowd who flock to this rustic Victoria Street institution for the top-notch coffee by Northcote roasters Atomica, and the beer, cider and Bloody Marys later in the day.
Cafe Ray’s is a hotspot of cultural diversity and has stayed a favourite among locals for quite some years.
This buzzing little cafe harnesses the rich culture of Brunswick, inspired by the street art and music that Brunswick is known for – not to mention the local’s love of coffee!
Their delicious and extensive menu is inspired by rich, hearty Middle Eastern foods, each dish bursting with flavour.
They’re also home to a vast selection of vegan-friendly dishes and are regarded highly by their regular customers as one of the best vegan-friendly cafes in the area.
This family-friendly café isn’t just great for children – there are plenty of decadent dishes on offer for grown-ups, too. The homely Miss Marmalade dishes up all the delicious brunch classics, brews coffee by Richmond’s Clark Street Roasters, and even has a special back room with kid-sized furniture, children’s books and a colourful toy box to entertain the little ones.
Step through the mysterious unsigned red door to discover one of Brunswick East’s best-hidden brunch spots, pumping out house-roasted coffee, freshly baked pastries, and seasonal brekky dishes. East Elevation shares its stylish space with artisan chocolatier Monsieur Truffle, so you can marvel at those confectionary creations while you’re sipping on your cappuccino. The café also curates an alley garden around the corner to grow fresh ingredients for the kitchen.
To explore one of the best cafes in Brunswick East, pump out house-roasted coffee, freshly made pastries, and seasonal brekky dishes, walk through the mysterious unsigned red entrance. East Elevation shares its modern room with Monsieur Truffle, an artisan chocolatier, so you can wander at those candy designs while enjoying your cappuccino. To cultivate fresh kitchen produce, the café often curates an alley garden around the corner.
F stands for food, C stands for coffee, and Foxtrot Charlie stands for quality. This Sydney Road boutique roaster produces its house blend and a range of single origins, including many organics. The house-roasted coffee goes beautifully with the very modern brunch menu – think spinach and coconut milk pancakes, salmon gravlax on sprouted rye bread, and plenty of vegan options.
This social enterprise café serves more than just porridge in the morning and bagels in the afternoon – 100 per cent of the profits go towards fighting youth homelessness and hunger in Victoria.
Dishing out coffee and brunch from a hole-in-the-wall near Anstey railway station, Home. one donates its lunch profits to Eat Up Australia, and it is coffee and bagel proceeds to organisations that are helping young homeless people, meaning your morning cuppa makes a difference to the community.
Code Black Coffee
Code Black’s decor is – predictably – jet black, a suitable setting for one of Brunswick’s coolest coffee joints. Sitting just off Sydney Road, this Weston Street café serves a seasonal blend plus a rotating single-origin roasted in-house, as well as a tasty food menu. This impressive roastery is spearheaded by Joseph Haddad, the brains behind the chain of Cafenatics stores sprinkled throughout inner-city Melbourne.
Small Axe, big flavours. Former Code Black chef Adam Pruckner opened his place just off Sydney Road in 2016, combining modern brunch classics with traditional Sicilian flavours in a sunny 100-year-old building on Victoria Street. The coffee, of course, comes from Code Black – the lightly roasted house blend is used for black coffees, whole milk coffees employ the medium-dark ‘ex-wife’ blend.
This Lebanese bakery, grocer and café have been an institution in the heart of Sydney Road since way back in 1992. The decor is old-school, the welcome is warm, and the coffee is best enjoyed with A1’s signature baklava.
This family business also serves a hearty dinner, bakes an array of bread, and supplies Middle Eastern groceries and specialities to take home.
Padre boasts locations in South Melbourne and Noosa, but Brunswick East is where it all began. This sleek Lygon Street café roasts many single origins and house blends from dozens of other estates around the globe, accompanied by a punchy selection of takeaway sweet and savoury snacks.
Padre also hosts roasting and cupping courses and features a retail space brimming with everything a budding brewer could ever need.
Padre Coffee was born into the Brunswick East community in late 2007, and they have been roasting, brewing, and selling their delicious in-house coffee ever since.
Their premium and diverse range of single-origin and blended coffee beans will be sure to satisfy any coffee lover’s taste palette. Not to mention they have a delicious selection of baked goods to choose from as well!
Padre runs regular workshops that take you through various methods of brewing coffee and also offer espresso brewing courses. Just in case you’re interested in brushing up on some of your skills.
Project281, built by Splinter Society Architects, has a stunning industrial-chic look. This Brunswick cafe is an old factory, with plants consuming every square inch of the site, and has since been turned into an agricultural jungle.
Project281 roasts its coffee brand, branded as Creator Coffee, roasted with consistency, a multi-award-winning coffee connoisseur and coffee roaster. If you consider yourself a bit of a foodie, you shouldn’t miss this spot. They serve all your traditional classics for breakfast, incorporating touches of Japanese and Korean spices in their dishes (with a twist!).
Ona Coffee is a Brunswick cafe originally established in Canberra in 2008 and was born for one reason: “to make great coffee and share it with as many individuals as possible.”
They have since worked their way (and have also entered Sydney) from Canberra to Melbourne, with one of their cafes showing up right here in the heart of Brunswick.
Ona Coffee, unmatched by its rivals, has continued to earn numerous honours for four straight years since 2015, such as ‘Australian Barista Champion.’ It is one of the best cafes in Brunswick.
Originally established in Canberra in 2008, Ona Coffee was born for one reason: “to create great coffee and share it with as many people as possible.”
They have since made their way from Canberra to Melbourne (and have even reached Sydney), with one of their cafes turning up right here in the heart of Brunswick. Unmatched by their competitors, Ona Coffee has managed to win multiple awards such as ‘Australian Barista Champion’ for four consecutive years since 2015.
Double Dutch Coffee Bar
For getting an exceptionally talented barista and one of the finest brews along Lygon Lane, the Double Dutch Coffee Bar is the finest Brunswick cafe.
This accessible, funky and friendly little cafe is home to tasty snacks and bagels, selling only $5 with killer offers such as toasties. The very best thing about Double Dutch is that with your furry friend beside you, you will spend a glorious day in the heat. It is always a bonus to be dog-friendly and undoubtedly offers you more incentives to visit.
Brunswick, full of tradition and rich in music, is one of the most lively inner-city neighbourhoods of Melbourne.
Double Dutch Coffee Bar is highly regarded by the Brunswick community for having an extremely talented barista and one of the finest brews along Lygon Street.
This affordable, quirky and welcoming little cafe is home to delicious treats and bagels, with killer deals such as toasties that sell for just $5!
The very best part about Double Dutch is that you can enjoy a beautiful day in the sun with your furry companion beside you. Being dog-friendly is certainly a perk and gives you an extra incentive to visit.
The newest kid on the block, Bellboy Cafe is a personal favourite of ours (we may be a little biased), but we’re incredibly impressed by the standards set by Emilio and his team!
Chef Michael has created a menu tailored to fit just about anyone’s desires; there’s plenty to choose from whether you desire something savoury or sweet. Want the inside scoop? Keep reading to find out what locals and EBV residents have voted for as their top picks.
Are you looking to curb your sweet tooth? The Buttermilk Waffles with caramelised white chocolate cheesecake, summer berries, hazelnut crumble, and maple syrup ($19) mustn’t be ignored. This decadent breakfast may send you into a sugar coma, but it’s worth every bite.
The cafe is most commonly known for its impressive bagel selection. The Grilled Halloumi ($13) served with handmade cut chips being the crowd favourite since the opening of the cafe, along with the healthy Chop Chop Salad ($17). Gluten-free and plant-based options are available, as well as familiar favourites, Eggs on Toast & Sourdough Crumpets (also made in-house).
Honestly, we don’t believe you can make a wrong decision at this cafe, including the drinks.
Golden Bean winner & coffee connoisseur Mark Leo roasts all coffee beans on-site. There are two signature options to choose from, espresso and filter – both are delicious. What’s more? All furry friends are welcome. There’s even a custom-built dog kennel by Frank & Friends Design that sits outside. Now that’s 5-star service for you!
There’s free parking on-site and spacious outdoor terrace seating – to give you another reason to love this place.
The Best Places To Get A Coffee In Brunswick East!
It’s a little unfair to say one coffee is the best; I think it’s fair to say that the many great cafes around Brunswick East have a unique style, offering, and atmosphere, so here are the rest of the best coffee shops in Brunswick East.
The offering at Code 21 is definitely on the healthier side, lighter but still delicious and with quality ingredients sourced locally and ethically. But check out their Instagram because the food still looks amazing, and the coffee is spot on.
Located on Lygon, it’s frequented by locals in the area that love their generous portions of avo smash along with amazing staff that will make you feel appreciated. If you have yet to visit, this should be your next stop for a coffee and breakfast.
Located on Albert street, the venue is situated in a repurposed warehouse. The sourdough bread at this venue is the hero, but they have not compromised on the quality of anything at this cafe/bakery, delicious breakfast, perfect croissants and top-notch coffee. This venue is always busy, but the atmosphere here on the weekend is amazing. Families are wandering past, people walking their dogs. It makes for a real community hub.
You cannot truly appreciate traditional Italian desserts without a classic cup of Italian espresso on the side. Gelo bar has a huge range of Italian desserts in the Global cabinet, strawberry & Nutella crepes, tiramisu, breakfast offerings and plenty of other Italian classics on their menu.
This homely cafe gives you a homemade experience, serving classic homestyle bacon and egg rolls and warm chicken salad. The coffee is good and made with love and if it’s a hot day, be sure to give their banana milkshake a try.
It easily served one of the best coffees in Brunswick East and even Melbourne. The team working there is always friendly and chatty with the welcoming, friendly vibe that you get in the inner north. Be sure to have a brekkie here. The Reuben is recommended -this is one of our favourite cafes in Melbourne.
This is a very Melbourne warehouse-style cafe. It’s a lovely environment filled with greenery and a busy kitchen that you can see. The menu is a great mix of Asian fusion dishes, which is different from the rest of Brunswick’s cafe scene. Be sure to try their chocolate-filled, fish-shaped waffles.
A great brekkie spot and local favourite, this cafe is slinging out delicious bacon and eggs on their home-baked bread. The coffee is top-notch, and we strongly recommend you try their cold drip coffee. It is delicious. It is located below one of the newer apartment developments in Brunswick.
A great option for those who live on the Nicholson street side of Brunswick East, it’s a cozy little cafe, this cafe has a real farmhouse feel with house-baked goods and a delicious selection of preserves also made in house. This is the perfect spot in winter to snuggle up to a nice latte with something a little sweet.
You all know East Elevation, “that place hidden behind the big red door.” But it’s more than that. They have their garden, which contributes to their delicious breakfast menu, some of the best hot chocolate in Melbourne (it’s also a chocolate factory). The venue is huge inside and full of lush green plants. It’s the perfect place to take your Southside friends to show them how good the North is.
Smug serves a quality all-day breakfast – eggs in all sorts of ways, French toast and more. They also have a fantastic lunch menu with salads, bruschetta and burgers. They are serving up St Ali coffee which we know is nutty and delicious. Pair that with a great avo smash or baked eggs. You will always have a great brunch at this venue. Enjoy.
This is the new kid on the block. We got plenty of mentions by locals on our recent Facebook post, and it also gets a special shoutout from us because it’s located in the EBV Display suite. The team is serving up a delicious Egyptian inspired menu. We recommend the shakshuka. The coffee they are serving is local from Code Black Coffee, and it’s really good.
If you are after somewhere slinging so no-nonsense good brekkie food and great coffee, The Old Bike Shop Cafe is for you, located on the Lygon street strip. It’s easy to jump on a tram or enjoy the walk and get your brekkie on.
FAQs About Melbourne Cafes
"Vibrant and convenient."
Brunswick, over the years, has developed into such a terrific suburb. A hot spot for cafes, arts, live music and of course shopping. Easily accessible via public transport with Brunswick and Jewell Train stations and Sydney Road tram, as well as Moreland Train station just on the border.
It was named after the Town of Brunswick, which was named in honour of King George I, the Duke of Brunswick and Lunenberg. The County Seat was first located at Brunswick Town, founded by Maurice Moore, son of Governor James Moore, located on the west bank of the Cape Fear River. In 1779, the County Seat was moved to Lockwood Folly, and in 1808, the County Seat was moved to Smithville, known today as Southport, where it would remain for 167 years.
Brunswick is an inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Moreland. At the 2016 Census, Brunswick had a population of 24,473.
The best thing I like about East Brunswick is that it is a small town. Everyone comes together as a community. Almost everyone knows each other, either directly or indirectly. The town is safe to be in and has many facilities, community service opportunities, and is also close to many universities/colleges.
Brunswick has a fairly well-known reputation as a great coffee and brunch destination. A Minor Place is the quintessential “hipster” brunch venue, generous helpings of Avo smash. Sit inside this repurposed milk bar or sit outside on a milk crate with your dog and enjoy your latte.
If baked goodness is your vibe, then Wildlife Bakery is a must-visit. They have a variety of sourdoughs on offer, a cabinet full of cakes, croissants and other baked goods—their menu centres around their passion for sourdough. Think delicious toasted sandwiches with leg ham or perfectly baked eggs paired with their housemade bread toasted to perfection.
Brunswick is one of Melbourne’s most vibrant inner-city suburbs, brimming with history and rich in culture. Brunswick is home to a diverse community where arts, music and food all have an important role.
New developments in Brunswick and apartment living have made it more easily affordable for first-time buyers and young families to live in this vibrant inner-city suburb. If the Brunswick community (and good coffee) is something you would like a part of, then register your interest with East Brunswick Village and get a feel for what could soon be your neck of the woods.
Our friends over at Brunswick Daily have also expressed their love for coffee. Please stay up to date on the lingo and check out their Italian Coffee guide, sure to test even the most avid coffee lover.