5 of the Best Bars in Preston and Thornbury

Jun 22, 2021

Whether celebrating an event, birthday or just the end of the week, there’s no shortage of bars near Due North. It’s easy to sip around your suburb, so we’ve picked our top five local hotspots for you to enjoy.

Whether celebrating an event, birthday or just the end of the week, there’s no shortage of bars near Due North. It’s easy to sip around your suburb, so we’ve picked our top five local hotspots for you to enjoy.

Welcome to Thornbury

520 High St, Northcote

When it comes to variety, you can’t go past Melbourne’s first food-truck park, Welcome to Thornbury. This beer-garden and food-truck park has a rotating list of trucks from all around Melbourne and Geelong.

Located on the former Morris Minor factory site, there’s ample room to fit in six food-trucks plus around 560 people (and doggos) on the open-air deck. The atmosphere can be described as festive, with lights and bunting strung up high, and neon signs lighting up the night.

Getting a drink is surprisingly easy too, with two long bars sporting 35 beer taps, big jugs of shared cocktails and speedy service designed to reduce waiting times. Expect names such as Ramen on Wheels, Brazilian Bites, Los Diablos, White Guy Cooks Thai, Caliko BBQ, Greek Street Food, Korean Fried Chicken, Señor Churro and more.

And don’t think this is a summer-only space either, with room indoors for up to 140 people in the cooler months — making this the ultimate place for casual hangs and impromptu gatherings.

Website: welcometothornbury.com
Instagram: @welcometothornbury

Carwyn Cellars

877 High St, Thornbury

Renowned for their craft beer offerings, this Melbourne bottle shop and bar is ranked with the best when it comes to variety.

Walk past the fridges and you’ll find yourself in a bar that has 28 beer taps constantly on rotation.

Sip into the afternoon and sample local and independent offerings, while soaking up the sun in the courtyard or under the trees on the street. You can also get food delivered from nearby favourites.

Website: carwyncellars.com.au
Instagram: @carwyncellars

Joanie’s Baretto

832A High St, Thornbury

Joanie’s isn’t trying to be a hotspot, instead you’ll find a more welcoming version of a traditional Italian club — minus the old men playing cards and drinking grappa.

There’s plenty on offer at Joanie's Baretto, including a solid selection of salumi, cheese boards and antipasto fare. Enjoy with a vino, birra, digestivo, or tried-and-tested Italian aperitivos such as Campari, Aperol and Negronis.

If you’re after something a little more substantial, try the porchetta (rolled pork belly) smoked over open coals, or head just a few doors down to Umberto — Joanie’s café sibling that boasts a plateful of classic Italian pasta dishes.

However you want to spend your afternoon, make like the Italians and keep it simple. Either on the banquettes or drinks in the sunny courtyard — Joanie’s Baretto encourages you to enjoy the company of friends.

Website: joaniesbaretto.com.au
Instagram: @joaniesbaretto

Northern Git

757 High St, Thornbury

The Northern Git is full of comfort, both in food and the liquid variety. Located in Thornbury, Northern Git has carved out a niche for their comfort food and polished drink selection.

Born in Yorkshire, owner Michael Slade has brought a little of Northern England to Thornbury, with his Australian take on English food. Despite the name (a wry jab levelled at English people from the northern counties) you won’t find anything drab here, with indulgent bar snacks such as poor crackling and blue cheese chicken wings, the first to grab our attention.

After a starter, you can move onto the hearty mains consisting of roast duck with apple and red cabbage, fish and chips and a great offering of grass-fed house-aged beef.

Moving onto the drinks menu, you can enjoy a libation at the bar or with a meal. Here you’ll find a selection of craft beers (both Australian and British) and whiskies. Our hot tip is to go on a Sunday, where you can enjoy an old-fashioned British roast, just like grandma used to make.

Website: getatgit.com
Instagram: @northerngit3071

Stray Neighbour

463 Plenty Rd, Preston

Industrial aesthetic? Check. A large variety of craft beers? Check. And toned-down fancy food with local ingredients? Double check. If this makes your list, we may have just found your new favourite haunt.

Opening in 2015, Stray Neighbour is housed in a 600sqm ex-panel beater workshop that has been transformed into a warehouse-style bar, eatery and event space. While there’s no shortage of beers (there are 12 beer taps to be exact — rotating seasonally) there’s also a comprehensive selection of wine, including small-batch producers such as Dormilona in Margaret River and Jericho in McClaren Vale.

The team has gone for a menu that reads like that of an inner-city wine bar. Think refined snacks and share plates such as olives, chicken-liver pate, broccolini with confit garlic and ricotta gnocchi with sage butter. At breakfast (weekends only) the kitchen sends out a good mix of sweet and savoury dishes.

Everyone is welcome at Stray Neighbour (doggos too), so be sure to head down and soak up the lively (and sometimes rowdy) atmosphere of this Northside gem.

Website: strayneighbour.com.au
Instagram: @strayneighbour

Pallino

790 High St, Thornbury

Open since 2014, owner and local Louise Zelencich has got an angle (apart from cocktails) that keeps the customers rolling in — bocce. Traditionally played by the Italian community, Pallino is located on the very spot where the tournaments used to take place.

Using the bocce pitch as inspiration, you’ll discover a long, straight space running through the bar, with an area for spectators on each side. Though not a late-night activity, you’ll find bocce matches played more on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The decor combines traditional styling sensibilities with a modern twist. Think warm timber, white marble and brass details — along with a restored terrazzo floor that was originally installed in 1956.

A quick scan of the menu reveals a feast for the soul, with Italian-made cheese, buffalo mozzarella and charcuterie plates on offer. There’s also the option to order a delivery of panini and pizza from nearby Lebenese pizza restaurant, The Moor’s Head.

The wine list may be short, but Pallino’s focus is the classic cocktails consisting of Manhattans, Aperol spritzes, Negronis, and a lot of espresso martinis. There’s also seven craft beers on tap, including Mountain Goat’s Cross-Breed Red India Ale, if that’s more your thing.

Website: pallino.com.au
Instagram: @pallinothornbury