Since the 1920s, it's been a sentry guarding the corner of Grattan and Bouverie Streets. To this day, the Prince Alfred Hotel's light stone and brick façade is symbolic of its past, as a popular gathering point for uni students and hospital workers since opening in 1926. Regulars will recall the simple worn-out interior — which was all fine and well until it closed in 2015.
The pub was then bought by The University of Melbourne, and — much to the disappointment of uni students and $1 beer enthusiasts in the inner north — has sat empty ever since. But the Carlton has been given a new lease on life. The 100 Burgers Group (the team behind some of Melbourne's favourites, like Belle's Hot Chicken, Welcome to Thornbury and Hightail) has come on board to commandeer the pub's revival.
As before, it spans two levels, each with a bar, and a beer garden. In addition to a permanent kitchen serving traditional pub fare, there's a shipping container turned into another kitchen which will showcase visiting food pop-ups — plans see each pop-up taking residence for a month or two.
From the seating to the outdoor decking area, everything has been carefully designed with the pub's heritage and clientele carefully considered. "We worked with the consultants at interior design firm Hot Black, who were on the same page as us from the get-go," says Daragh Kan, one of the founders of the 100 Burgers Group. "We looked at the history of the place, the name and who Prince Alfred was, as well as the clientele and the character of the surrounding area."
Mostafa Morshed is in charge of the pub kitchen. The vision of serving food in forward-thinking student pub with royal characteristics was almost second nature to Morshed, whose broad spectrum of kitchen work has seen him previously working with English, French, Spanish and Modern Australian cuisines in Melbourne and Sydney. His team also includes Harry Wakefield, who Morshed recruited from a previous stint heading Meat Market at South Wharf.
The pub pours from 60 beer taps which highlight local, Victorian and larger well-known brews. The wine list showcases solely local and Victorian wine and the cocktail menu takes inspiration from the pub's regal theme. In addition, a collaboration with Collingwood's Stomping Ground is also in the works. There's a cafe window, providing street-level access to Prince Alfred Hotel's coffee shop (open from 7am).
Images: Giulia Morlando