Brunswick Street is home to many spots for dining while drinking wine, beer or cocktails but nowhere brings them together quite like Bonny Bar. The sleek Fitzroy space opened in early 2020 and with 27 taps it didn’t just boost the neighbourhood’s offering of delicious drinks but ensured each could be treated with the same reverence.
Craft beer, local wines and unique cocktails all share space along the minimalist backbar, with the decision to focus so heavily on taps driven by the ethos of sustainability that underpins the bar. Behind it is a wealth of hospitality and drinks world experience: the team is led by Adam Betts and Michelle Vanspall, who run the craft beer importer and distributor Northdown, Craft Beer Movement and Edge Brewing Project. Bonny’s skyward neighbours and longstanding Brunswick Street community members, Uptown Jazz Café, are also part of the operation.
When designing the venue, the founders all knew they didn’t just want the drinks list to be impressive but felt the food menu should be just as enticing. So, while Adam and Michelle's beer careers kicked off when he was a fresh-faced bartender, they knew they’d need to find someone else to head up the kitchen.
That someone else turned out to be some of Melbourne's best chefs: rather than run the kitchen themselves, Bonny instead hands over full control of the menu for months-long residences. Early kitchen takeovers included the likes Mike Baker, Peter Gunn and Teage Ezard, who each took up three months residencies, while James Cornwell has settled in longer term since 2022.
James shares in Bonny’s ethos and, as a chef, is driven by making the experience of going out more ethical; his menu champions ethically-raised and wild-harvested meats. It wasn’t long before the former Cumulus Inc head chef’s modern Australian menu created a stir in Melbourne food circles, particularly for its unique plates and the always-popular Wagyu Wednesdays.
Bonny’s food offering really makes the impressive number of taps shine too, with their lineup of beers showcasing different styles that match seamlessly with different dishes. Better yet, if a small or large glass doesn’t quite seem like enough, you can order them by the one-litre carafe. The wine, meanwhile, is all independent with a focus on local, natural winemakers, while the cocktails often champion native Australian ingredients,
The venue itself is as modern as the food and drinks, with the space filled with comfy couches, reclaimed timber, and some of the best bar seats you’ll find anywhere – particularly those facing Brunswick Street.
More tables sit out the front for alfresco dining and drinking, while the courtyard out back conjures a lively buzz in all weather conditions. Both those outdoor areas are dog-friendly too, which helps capture what makes Bonny such an integral part of Fitzroy.
Beyond the array of taps and a backbar offering the kind of drinks lineup that can suit any moment, the warm hospitality and the space’s design adds to the appeal. If you’re looking for a quiet beer after work, a nightcap before heading home, or a meal with a group, a loved one (whether human or canine), Bonny Bar is there waiting for you with open arms.