In what will be a welcome change for Carlton locals, Markov’s former Spanish-inspired menu and wine-focused drinks list have been replaced with a bank of local boutique beers, cider on tap and a snappy, crowd-pleasing menu of properly done pub-style classics.

The welcoming new fit-out comes via design team The Anatomy and makes the most of the space’s good bones (high ceilings, exposed beams, laneway exposure). Gone is the dark, moody vibe, making way for lots of warm, exposed brick, glossy white subway tiles and an impressive feature wall by street artist Tom Civil, whose artwork also features in the rear laneway.

With fewer small tables – replaced by a handful of elevated, recycled timber benches – the updated space lends itself much better to quick visits and casual, communal snacking, which owner Guy David reckons is more in line with what their regulars were after.

“While we loved the food that was coming out previously, we realised that it was much more of a ‘dining experience’ than most people were wanting,” he says.

Markov’s budget-friendly overhaul positions it as a much more viable option for a pre or post-movie pit stop for regulars of the nearby Cinema Nova, too.

The simplified new menu, by young chef Trumble Dewé, favours quick, accessible “urban comfort food”, which means you’ll see a range of shareable, beer-friendly starters like chicken wings, fried school prawns with lime and spiced salt, or local mussels with smoked pork, tomato, pilsner and toast. Mains are solid, no-fuss and designed to work well with beer too: think burgers, steak and fancy fish and chips.

So whether you’re a craft beer enthusiast, an art-house movie fan, or if it has just been a little while between visits, we reckon this is one underrated Carlton gem worth getting to know a little better.

350-352 Drummond Street, Carlton
(03) 9347 7113

Tues to Thurs 5pm-late
Fri noon-late
Sat & Sun 3pm-late