A brick pub standing sentry on a Melbourne corner is a familiar sight, but the exterior rarely tells the story of its many lives. Built in the 1860s, The Hack in Port Melbourne has gone through several iterations, from classic pub to Irish pub to upmarket function venue.

Walk in today and you’ll find a bright and spacious bar with light-wood tables, leather couches and polished wood floors. Peach-coloured walls, colourful artwork, a neon sign and an installation of Edison bulbs on the ceiling up the contemporary quotient. It’s playful, fresh and modern, designed by Collingwood-based Pocketbeagle.

Co-owner Chris Nicholls says he and his partners wanted to create a pub, bar and lounge room that was different to everything else in the area.

“We knew we had to break the mould a little bit. If we do Carlton Draught and a parma, we don’t stand out. There’s nothing wrong with that – we love that – but you can’t stand out.”

Hack started out as a brewing company, and a brewpub was the original plan for the space, but the team soon realised it “wanted to fill it with people, not tanks,” Nicholls says.

There’s one Hack beer pouring at the pub (made at Holgate in Woodend), with a lager to be added soon. Nineteen other taps rotate craft beers, cocktails (Espresso Martinis included) and prosecco.

The cocktail list designed by Alex Nicholls (previously Beneath Driver Lane, Nieuw Amsterdam) includes a mimosa made with Melbourne Moonshine (distilled just a few streets away), prosecco, cider, orange juice and peach liqueur.

Kevin Dick, who spent time at several Andrew McConnell restaurants including Cutler & Co and now-closed 312 and Golden Fields, as well as London’s upscale Hix Soho, is in the kitchen with his American-barbeque project Limp Brisket.

A rooftop bar is planned, as are workshops. Expect everything from homebrew classes to basic carpentry.

The Hack
1 Crockford Street, Port Melbourne
(03) 9645 2503

Hours:
Mon to Wed 12pm–11pm
Thu 12pm–1am
Fri & Sat 12pm–3am
Sun 10am–12am

thehack.com.au