Brunswick holds a very special place in our hearts at Market Lane Coffee. Many of our team members live (or have lived) in the area and, since 2020, it’s been home to our roastery and HQ (and our vending machine)! In early 2023, we fulfilled our long-time dream of opening a shop location on Sydney Rd.
It would be impossible to come up with a definitive guide to Brunswick – with its rich history and diverse inhabitants, the neighbourhood has too many unique gems to present in one guide, and new spots popping up all the time. So, we’ve compiled a list of some of the places we adore, regularly visit and highly recommend in and around the bustling and vibrant Sydney Rd precinct.
Mile End Bagels
Mile End is Australia’s first wood-fired bagelry, and it sits just behind our Brunswick shop. Inspired by the bagel shops of Montreal, the Mile End team use a slightly sweeter dough and boil their bagels in honey before baking them in a wood-fired oven and filling them with a range of delicious menu options.
1 Wilkinson St, Brunswick
Wild Life Superette
Wild Life owner Huw Murdoch is a good friend of ours, and a former Market Lane barista and manager. This second Wild Life location serves the bakery’s incredible sourdough bread and a range of grocery offerings, including house-made ferments, Market Lane coffee beans and a superb selection of cheeses, in homage to the former tenants of the space, Harper and Blohm.
365 Sydney Road Brunswick
Blackhearts and Sparrows
A specialty beverage store with a super knowledgeable team, Blackhearts and Sparrows has a large range of wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks to suit any occasion or budget. With an emphasis on flavour and provenance, Blackhearts and Sparrows showcases and celebrates the producers behind their drinks, with a special emphasis placed on Victorian and Australian wines.
379 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Right above our Sydney Rd shop, you’ll find the beautiful Mr Kitly shop, with its hand-picked selection of homewares, textiles and jewellery from local and international makers, with a particular focus on Japan (where shop owner Bree Claffey lived for five years). Mr Kitly also has a room dedicated to plants, plant care and gardening equipment, featuring a large collection of their famous and much-loved self-watering pots.
381 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Image Credit: Lauren Bamford
Looking for fresh, scrumptious and hearty Vietnamese food in Brunswick? With a menu featuring free-range meat and loads of vegan and vegetarian options, the fantastic Good Days Vietnamese diner provides just that. The counter seating gives you a great view of the busy kitchen, and at the footpath tables, you can watch the Sydney Rd foot traffic pass you by.
165 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC
Just off Sydney Rd, you’ll find Juanita Peaches, owned by Raph Rashid of Beatbox Kitchen, Taco Truck and All Day Donuts fame (All Day Donuts populates the shop space in the daytime). The focus of Juanita Peaches is the delicious fried chicken, but the fantastic cheeseburger is the real reason to visit; one bite and you’ll know why it’s so often cited as one of Melbourne’s best burgers.
12 Edward St, Brunswick
A beloved Sydney Rd institution for over three decades – and for very good reason! – A1 is a Lebanese bakery and café that serves delicious pizzas and spinach and halloumi pies. It’s also a Middle Eastern grocer selling sumac, pomegranate molasses, rose water…and all the other ingredients Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi have us using on a regular basis.
643-645 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Over 100 years old, the wonderful Brunswick Baths features a 20-metre indoor swimming pool and a 50-metre outdoor swimming pool, which is heated and open all year-round. The Baths also feature a gym, spa, sauna and steam room. Whether you’re after somewhere to swim laps in winter or a spot to read in the sun and splash about in summer, a visit to the Baths is always a Brunswick must.
14 Dawson St, Brunswick
Built along the railway tracks of the Upfield line is a shared-use path for cyclists and pedestrians, where walkers and riders don’t have to worry about tram tracks or cars (or car doors)! There are always interesting things to take in on your journey, as the path runs past playgrounds, workout stations, free book libraries, public artworks and some of Brunswick’s new sustainable residential co-ops.
La Manna Fresh
Recognisable by the array of colourful flowers out the front, La Manna Fresh is a greengrocer with an incredible range of fruit and veg. It’s the place to go for whole artichokes, fresh borlotti beans, and seasonal grape varieties, like black sapphire, sweet adora, seedless autumn crisp and black muscatels. La Manna also has a wide selection of dried and fresh pasta, many types of French butter, and a great deli offering, too.
403-407 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
A Sydney Rd fixture since 1961, Mediterranean Wholesalers is a supermarket-size store featuring European ingredients. It boasts an entire aisle dedicated to pasta in every shape you can imagine, and sells every kind of bean you can think of, canned and jarred. You can also find ricotta salata here, which a lot of Bon Appétit and Smitten Kitchen recipes call for.
482 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney Rd, Juanito's is a local institution with a neighbourhood vibe – the kind of place where regular customers greet the owners by name and ask for ‘the usual’. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and room for babies in prams and dogs awaiting pats from passing locals. Juanito's keeps it simple with just three menu items: a pastrami roll (the crowd favourite), a salad roll and a vegan roll. All three are delicious and fantastic value.
259 Albert St, Brunswick
The neighbourhood is rejoicing now that Savers is back open after a long closure for renovations. Savers Brunswick is a warehouse-sized, well-curated op shop selling homewares, furniture, books and clothes. Brightly lit, clean and well-organised, we especially love it for kids’ clothes and costume finds for Book Week, Halloween and themed parties.
330 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Market Lane Coffee
“Ever since we moved our office and roastery to Brunswick in 2020, we’ve wanted to create a community space where neighbours and local coffee lovers can drop in for a coffee and a chat,” says Market Lane co-owner Jenni Bryant. “Our Sydney Rd shop is that space!”
We love this bright and roomy shop space, designed with the wonderful David Goss and his team at Studio Goss, and managed by the fantastic James (who lives nearby). This shop is open every day, with delicious espresso and filter coffee drinks on offer, and beans and brew gear available to purchase. There is plenty of space to sit and a small selection of delicious pastries to enjoy. We also hold coffee cuppings (tastings) here every Friday. Come visit us next time you’re in the neighbourhood!
383 Sydney Rd, Brunswick