Return of the Prince Public Bar, St Kilda

Steak at the renovated Prince Public Bar looks like dry-aged Cape Grim rib-eye.
Steak at the renovated Prince Public Bar looks like dry-aged Cape Grim rib-eye.  Photo: Jana Langhorst

The famously grungy Prince Public Bar reopens on December 20 after six months of renovations, hoping to win back locals.

That mightn't be an easy feat. The St Kilda stalwart, open since the 1930s, was the epicentre of the '80s punk scene and a longtime supporter of the LGBTQI community, hosting drag nights and discos since the '70s.

Architect Iva Foschia says her renovation has restored some of the Art Deco features, including the grand oval bar and an internal staircase connecting to the hotel lobby and dining room upstairs, but is sympathetic to the venue's history.

The Prince team (from left) head chef Dan Cooper, executive chef Dan Hawkins and sous chef Chris Andrews.
The Prince team (from left) head chef Dan Cooper, executive chef Dan Hawkins and sous chef Chris Andrews. Photo: Jana Langhorst

While there is still Carlton Draught, most taps pour craft beers such as Stomping Ground's passionfruit smash, Nagambie pale ale and Brick Lane's red ale.

Executive chef Dan Hawkins and head chef Dan Cooper's menu includes the classics: chicken schnitzel (with coleslaw), fish and chips, and bangers and mash, but these are wagyu snags and dry-aged Cape Grim steaks. There will also be a daily roast special such as crisp pork knuckle with plum, snacks like oysters mignonette, tartare and crisp cauliflower, and a wealth of salads and veg.

Music? After the Prince Band Room's luxe renovation a few years ago, acts play exclusively upstairs. A wine bar, Little Prince Wine, will open mid-February, completing the overhaul.

The Prince Public Bar opens Friday, December 20, then daily 7am-late at 2 Acland Street, St Kilda, theprince.com.au/prince-public-bar.