The Prince Public Bar
The ground-level bar of the stately Prince of Wales Hotel holds a special place in a lot of hearts. With its prime position on the corner of Acland and Fitzroy streets, the bar has kept generations of St Kilda locals fed and watered.
But by the time the 2010s rolled around, it had begun to lose its sheen. In 2019, management made the decision to shut the bar down for a substantial revamp with the goal of taking it back to its Art Deco roots. After a swift renovation, it reopened at the end of 2019.
The building’s iconic rounded edges remain, as does the classic deco-era signage. Inside, a rediscovered stairwell connects the public bar to the building’s main foyer – areas that had been separated for decades. The ceiling has been uncovered and restored and a grand oval island bar is now the room’s centrepiece.
There are 30 taps pouring big name beers alongside a host of local craft offerings. Wines by the glass are mainly Victorian too, with the occasional Euro cameo (especially on the by-the-bottle list).
Food was never front-and-centre at the old Prince, but now you can expect refined pub classics and a full breakfast service from chefs Dan Hawkins and Dan Cooper, who also look after the dining room upstairs.
The day starts with eggs, sides and coffee by Dimattina. Later, it’s house-made sausage rolls, triple cheese croquettes or beef tartare, then on to counter meals such as burgers, fancy fish’n’chips and schnitzels. Pasture-fed steaks are cooked on a woodfired grill, served with hand-cut chips, watercress and red-wine sauce, or you might go the surf route with coal-grilled market fish and salad.
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