There's no shortage of watering holes in Moonee Ponds, and if you're after a feed, there are plenty of options. At the Mount Alexander Hotel, which opened at the end of last month, the team's approach for enticing locals is to focus on nailing the essentials.
“We want to provide a peak pub experience,” says co-owner Noel Murphy. “Just being a part of the community – a cornerstone – that people automatically reach out to. Getting to know our locals – where they sit, what they drink, who their friends are. Providing that outlet for people to entertain themselves.”
When it comes to facilitating a good time, Murphy and his fellow co-owners have a stellar track record. Murphy and one co-owner, executive chef Andrew Wright, met at the Speakeasy Group, where Murphy was the venue manager of Mjolner and Wright was the exec chef of Mjolner, Nick & Nora’s and Pearl Diver. The Mount Alexander Hotel’s other co-owners, James Duncan and Kane Tancredi, are long-time publicans: they own Fitzroy’s Royal Derby Hotel and Preston’s Stolberg Hotel.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
The menu is small but, as a good pub does, has something for everyone. The obligatory parma, cheeseburger and market fish are all present and accounted for, and there’s also a nice range of pastas and salads. For snacks there are small bites such as croquettes and focaccia with house dips, as well as larger share-style plates such as beef carpaccio. There’s a considered range of steaks here, sourced from the likes of O’Connor and Rangers Valley.
Drinks are equally crowd-pleasing. Nearly every wine from the mostly Australian list is available by the glass as well as the bottle. There are nine beers on tap and a bunch of other bottles and cans in the fridge. In addition to classics, the bar also has a range of signature cocktails to try – go for the Queens Gambit, a Gisbon Martini made with house-made pickled onion brine.
The Mount Alexander Hotel’s versatility extends beyond its food and drink offering – the space is partitioned to suit a variety of different moods and occasions. Upstairs is a cocktail bar and function space where funk- and soul-focused vinyl DJs will play every Friday. If the weather’s cooperating, the large upstairs space also has a retractable roof for letting in the rays. The capacity downstairs is split across the atrium and bistro areas. There’s something on every night at the venue – from steak nights and Sunday roasts, to meat raffles and pool competitions.
Although the bones of the previous tenants, Jetty Road Brewery, are still evident in the building, the guts of the space were given a refresh by Studio Y. The industrial feel has been softened by banquette seating, smaller tables and more greenery, which has also improved the acoustics of the room to more closely resemble a pub’s signature white noise. The old dark blue colour palette has been swapped out for a warm shade of terracotta instead, giving the space a pleasing retro vibe.
The Mount Alexander Hotel
690-695 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds