Collingwood’s Grace Darling Hotel has shaken off its shady past to take centre stage in weekly northside pub rituals; beer with friends and good pub food, nearly any day of the week. Housed in a handsome bluestone, the city’s second oldest pub takes its inspiration from its namesake, an audacious 19th-century maiden who took to the seas in search of a shipwreck.
Grace’s spirit lives on in galleon-themed wallpaper, the flickering candles that adorn the pub’s front bar and dining room and the underground gallery doubling as a function space. She would no doubt approve of the local micro brew on tap and the Grace’s classy take on pub food with standouts such as a pirate-worthy rib-eye from the Hunter Valley and a parma gussied up with pancetta and provolone.
The upstairs Grace bandroom is a hedonist’s lair – a fixture on the local gig circuit and home to a regular roster of launches, events and parties. Refurbished in 2009 by alumni from some of Melbourne’s most-loved watering holes, The Grace Darling is an institution in the making.