Timed perfectly for the footy season, Melbourne's oldest pub, the Duke of Wellington, in Flinders Street, has reopened after renovations. Built in 1850 and now called simply the Duke, its public bar is fully operational and dishing up breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the second level of the building to be revealed later in 2013 and the third level in 2014. The heritage-listed building, with an interior designed by Prahran's Newline Design, was bought by the Open Door Pub Company (ODPC) a couple of years ago and is intended to become ''a drinking, dining and socialising destination for everyone,'' says ODPC's marketing manager, Lisa Newman.
ODPC was established in 2004 with the acquisition of 24 managed venues. Its director is businessman Michael Thiele, who has a number of other investors involved in the business's day-to-day operations.
The group currently has 19 venues in its stable, including the College Lawn Hotel in Prahran, South Melbourne's Limerick Arms Hotel and the Geebung Polo Club in Hawthorn East. It is the largest non-gaming pub group in Australia.
The Duke is to be the group's flagship venue and is open from 7am to 1am, Monday to Friday; 9am to 1am on Saturday; and 9am to 11pm on Sunday.