St Kilda’s Prince Hotel nears revamp completion

16 October, 2019 by Brydie Allen

St Kilda’s historic and iconic pub, the Prince Hotel, is nearing the end of its “royal revival,” an effort that began in 2016.

The entire complex has been steadily transforming since then, with the Public Bar’s relaunch the last stage in the project. Set to open this summer, it will be joined shortly after by a new premium and boutique wine retailer, Little Prince Wine, in February 2020.

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Managing Director Andrew Ryan said the opening of the Prince Public Bar marks a significant moment for the Prince and for the St Kilda suburb.

“We’re bringing back the quintessential St Kilda local, providing a place where people can return two, three times a week and bring their family or a first date,” Ryan said.

“It’s a place where everyone is welcome, just as it always has been, and we’re excited to see how Melbourne responds to it.”

The strong history behind the Prince will be clearly showcased when the refurbished Public Bar opens its doors. Operations Manager Jess Harker said it would be hard not to celebrate the bar’s rich past.

“We just renovated the hotel and Prince Dining Room too so I think that’s been an indicator for us on how on how we can celebrate history through design cues,” Harker said.

“In the pub, you’ll see the original art deco ceiling reinstated, the original style floors, the original fireplace. There was an old third door on Fitzroy Street that we’ll be bringing back in, and on top of that, the original island bar that once sat between the saloon and the public bar.”

Harker also said: “We have a tiny little nod to the gay community that we are putting in there, but we’ll keep that hush until we actually open the doors.”

The Prince has a longstanding connection to the local LGBTQIA+ community already. It was one of the first Melbourne venues to embrace the gay and lesbian scene, housing drag show Pokeys and lesbian disco Pennies from the 1970s.

This relationship will be further bolstered by a new neighbour coming to Fitzroy Street, the Victorian Pride Centre, by February 2020.

In preparation for the summer relaunch, a senior management team has been assembled for The Public Bar.

Harker said: “The best thing about it is they’re all girls. Amazing females from a diverse background of nightclubs, pubs, breweries, and restaurants. To see them all come together and utilize that diverse skill set will be really, really special once we get to open the doors.”

The Prince Public Bar is set to open late November or early December, followed by Little Prince Wine in February 2020 and relaunch events for the whole complex.