Built in 1863, the Labour in Vain (or Labor in Vain depending on where you look) has been many things to many people over its 150+ year history.

Since reopening as a pub in 1998 (having spent 72 years as a confectioner and butcher among other things) the Labour in Vain has become a cornerstone of ‘old Fitzroy’ and a haven for rock ‘n’ roll misfits and locals alike.

Despite its Brunswick Street address, this is no gentrified ale house or hipster-filled gastro pub.

The Labour In Vain is a laid-back, ragged gem amongst the flashy lights and wannabes – an old wooden bar with some fine local brews on tap, no kitchen for food service – just good music and an old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll sensibility. There is a covered beer deck for the outdoor types, and regular live music  (with a leaning towards bluesy rock and Americana sounds).

It is perhaps the simplicity of the Labour that is one of its biggest attractions. Feel like a pizza or some takeaway chow with your beer? No worries, just grab one of the numerous menus on file behind the bar and order in. Feel like beating your mate in a game of pool? Sure thing (though remember house rule #1: don’t argue). Need some fresh air? Hit the rooftop beer deck with views of the city. Want to take in some of the finest local music? Just check the gig guide and take your pick.

Or just grab a beer and watch the rest of the world rushing about up and down Brunswick Street…. take a sip,  smile and relax.


Click on a question below for answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions…

Do you serve food?

Yes. The Labour in Vain is hosting a pop-up Japanese-inspired kitchen until the beginning of April. Tokyo Terrace is open Friday – Sunday, 6 – 9pm on the roof of the Labour, serving up chicken katsu burgers, fried karaage chicken and edamame along with other addictive beers snacks. Price range $4 – $14. Check out Tokyo Terrace on Instagram or Facebook for more info!

Do you have air conditioning?

Yes! And its reverse cycle so we are toasty and warm in winter too.

Who's playing tonight?

Probably the best band in the world. 😉 Check out the Live Music page for details of all our gigs.

Can I have my party at the Labour in Vain?

Sure can! The Beer Deck is available for private functions. Check out the details here.

How do I buy a Labour In Vain t-shirt?

Ask at the bar. T-Shirts are $25. More awesome merch should be on its way soon.

What's your nearest tram stop?

We are pretty much halfway between two stops on Brunswick Street on the 112 tram line.  Coming from the city get off at Stop 14 (Hanover St) walk 100m north up Brunswick St or Stop 15 (Bell St) and walk 100m south.

Do you have car parking?

No. There is general street parking in surround streets but remember this is Fitzroy…  parking is a very competitive sport around here and on the weekends parking is at a premium. Try the side streets but be warned – parking inspectors are always about so move your car after your allowed time or risk a fine. And don’t park in permit zones unless, you know…  you have a permit.

Contact Us

Phone (03) 9417 5955
Or send us a Facebook message


The History of The Labour In Vain
Read more


Mon – Wed | 3pm til late
Thurs – Sat | 2pm till 1am
Sunday | 2pm till 11pm

Labour In Vain