82 High St
With the closure of the Prahran Hotel in late 2010 it seemed certain that Melbourne would loose another iconic site on the nightlife scene. However with a six month renovation by Techne Architects under the guidance of new owners, the Sand Hill Boys (The Post Office Bar Pizza, Holliava, The Richmond Club Hotel and The Bridge Hotel), the venue has been re-birthed. While the owners want to bring ‘new-school’ philosophies to the site they acknowledge that it’s an established venue, with long held community ties: “We’re publicans. It’s simple and old fashioned,” says Doug Maskiell (Sand Hill Boys).
“We just make pubs to be a place where you can be everything to everyone. It doesn’t happen in bars, clubs or restaurants. A ‘pub’ is a public house… and public means all the public.” The team isn’t shy from declaring their hand when it comes to avoiding fads and ‘fashion food style’ either and they will steer clear of any ‘gastro-pub’ moniker.
The food menu, served up by Eddie Leonard (ex-Chez Bob, Melbourne), is a mix of what you’d expect from a great Australian pub and a modern restaurant rabbit casserole, parma’s and beef burgers sit well amongst the Mediterranean vegetable terrine, skinless braised pork belly and ‘duck of the day’ on the inspired menu. The liquid side of the offering is well covered too and there are seven beers and ciders on tap, and an extensive wine-list that showcases around 75 international variations.
Cocktails also a feature on the new list and the venue serves Mumm champagne by the glass to impress the ladies – or perhaps a well-heeled gent. “We’re not precious about our clientele,” says Maskiell. “We only care about who they are and how they feel when they’re in our place. The Prahran Hotel is a new kind of ‘old school’ pub, and we’re excited to share it.”