Howler is Brunswick's warehouse-turned-art-and-live-entertainment space that has every soul northside in a fizz, with its timber-lined theatre and gallery for cinema screenings, plays and gigs.
But what's really got us waving our hands in the air about this joint is the bar. Concept venues that serve good drinks are as rare as unicorns, but damned if Howler hasn't galloped into Brunswick with a helluva booze list impaled on its horn.
They’re serving Japanese craft beer Hitachino Nest classic ale on tap. On tap! In the fridge they’ve got the sweet smoky milk porter from local legends Kooinda, and you better believe that’s a 750mL tallboy of Brooklyn Brewery’s funky Sorachi Ace saison in the fridge (it tastes like socks and hops, in a delicious way).
You can thank head can shaker and all round dude Chris Lemelu for that list. He goes by Afro, knows his drinks and muddles cocktails with a baseball bat. Those cocktails are decent too. Between your classic Tom Collinses and Negronis are a few house originals that steer clear of the sweet and frilly stuff. Go a fresh and smoky cooler that sees elderflower and chartreuse-style liqueurs shaken down with lime and a peated single malt whisky from local distillery Bakery Hill.
This is Brendan Brogan and Luke Delaney’s joint – the guys behind grungy CBD haunt Workshop, and Fitzroy’s favourite hangout The Black Cat. This is definitely a fancier proposition looks- and booze-wise, but the big smoking area and DJs spinning hip hop are luring in their usual boho and student crowd.
Inside, booths are bathed in red light and walls are adorned with timber and metal sculptures. But we’re all about the beer garden.
Brogan has ripped the roof off the entire front half of what was once a wool factory, so if you look up it’s just you and the gods and some illuminated cubes that look like glowing box kites. Smooth tree trunks form big benches, and real and metal trees are dotted throughout along with a hanging garden that over time will grow to form a sort of post-apocalyptic jungle. Sunday sessions ahoy.
Hungry? Go for Aus-Asian snacks like boxes of kim chi dumplings if you’re a fan of fermented chilli and cabbage. Or how about some juicy kangaroo spring rolls?
They’re doing a lot of things right at Howler. We see a lot of long nights here in our future.