After much anticipation, St Kilda’s iconic pub Prince Public Bar is calling first drinks on Friday, 20 December
Beers will be flowing for thirsty locals and beyond, with the grand old dame flaunting a new look since closing in April to undergo a major overhaul.
Relaunching just in time for summer festivities, the historic drinking destination has been remodelled by IF Architecture’s Iva Foschia, a long-time collaborator of the corner locale.
Paying homage to its Art Deco heritage reimagined through a modern lens, the entire ground floor has been opened up to allow more free-flowing connection to the hotel lobby and Prince Dining Room. At the heart of the venue is a large oval island bar, reinstated to its original orientation and grandeur.
With the introduction of an expansive kitchen, the pub is open for breakfast through to dinner and will see guests graze over quality food and booze around the clock. The Prince Hotel’s Head Chef Dan Cooper (Circa, Garden State Hotel, Aria) has created an approachable menu that sees much of its seasonal produce kissed by a wood-fire oven.
Classic counter meals of steaks, burgers and fish & chips will be a hit with St Kilda natives, along with a signature roast series, offering a daily changing rotisserie – think slow-cooked lamb shoulder, roasted pork belly and coal-grilled ocean trout. To accompany an afternoon tipple, bar snacks include duck liver parfait with brioche, homemade sausage rolls, smoked ham & Gruyère cheese croquettes and classic steak tartare.
Managing Director Andrew Ryan says the relaunch not only represents a significant moment in the rejuvenation of The Prince Hotel complex, which he commenced in 2017, but also for the wider suburb.
“St Kilda has undergone its own transformation in recent years with The Prince Hotel establishing itself as a proud mainstay for generations. We’ve now brought new life to the iconic venue, and with that comes a new wave of guests. The Prince has always been a venue that welcomes people from all walks of life, and we’re excited to see how Melbourne responds to this latest iteration.”
Born in the Hunter Valley region, Head Chef Cooper enjoyed his first beer in Melbourne at Prince Public Bar more than eight years ago, and says it’s a surreal moment to now be heading up the kitchen of the iconic, historically rich venue that once welcomed him to the neighbourhood.
“I’m excited to show Melburnians and tourists alike just how far the Prince has come, while not losing sight of its colourful and quirky past. It’s important to feel comfortable and at home in a pub, and we’ve created a menu and venue that encourages people to return two, three times a week.”
Prince Public Bar is known as one of Melbourne’s longest standing LGBTQIA-friendly bars, having embraced Melbourne’s diverse community since its opening in 1937. The venue was famously home to Pokey’s Drag Show and Pennie’s Nightclub in the 1970s and will gladly welcome a new neighbour, St Kilda Pride Centre (to be opened on Fitzroy Street) in 2020.
The Prince Hotel more broadly has an eclectic musical history, renowned as the epicentre of Melbourne’s punk rock scene in the 1980s, while Prince Bandroom has played host to countless international acts, as well as the legendary late-night ‘One Love’ dance parties throughout the noughties.
As well as Prince Public Bar, the venue hosts a wide array of offerings, which can now be accessed via an internal staircase from the ground floor, including a 39-room boutique hotel, Prince Dining Room restaurant, premium event space Prince Deck, Aurora Spa and the popular Rain Room, which is located on the rooftop.
Marking the final stage of the royal revival, Little Prince Wine will be introduced in late February 2020, a 60-person-capacity wine bar and underground cellar adjacent to the pub.
Prince Public Bar
Opening Date: Friday, 20 December 2019
Opening Hours: 7am–late