The 137-Year-Old Albert Park Hotel Officially Reopens with Dim Sum and a New Look This Month
The historic pub has sat dormant for six years, but now it's back — complete with a modern Chinese menu, light-filled interiors and a moody upstairs cocktail lounge.
UPDATE: MARCH 11, 2020 — Originally scheduled for this Friday, March 13, the official reopening of The Albert Park Hotel has been delayed until further notice due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19. While VicHealth has deemed the venue safe, the pub will remain closed as staff, who came into contact with a guest that's since tested positive for coronavirus, self-isolate for two weeks. The Albert Park Hotel will consult with VicHealth again before confirming a new opening date. To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
It's endured plenty of changes throughout its 137-year history as a pub, but The Albert Park Hotel is now about to unveil its grandest makeover yet. The long-running corner boozer officially throws open its doors this March, having sat dormant since being bought by new owners the Colonial Leisure Group in 2014.
Joining a stable of popular venues that includes the likes of Lucky Coq, Bimbo Deluxe, Brunswick's The Penny Black and the Portsea Hotel, it comes as no surprise The Albert Park Hotel is jumping back onto the scene with a contemporary new look. Or that it's dishing up a modern Chinese food offering in place of the classic pub grub.
Headed up by Six Degrees Architects and stylist Anna Roberts, the full revamp has seen the once dark and enclosed space transformed into something bright and upbeat, with light pouring through the windows of a new four-storey atrium. The interiors cleverly blend old and new, with modern finishes bringing new life to the pub's original brickwork and historic features — from the front bar and restaurant to the streetside beer garden and through to a cosy upstairs lounge. A sprawling artwork by Spacecraft pays homage to local flora and fauna, as well as to the suburb's past, while Roberts' careful selection of antiques and vintage artefacts mirror the Chinese angle of the new menu.
That contemporary offering from executive chef Ken Yuen is available throughout the venue, but takes centre stage within the restaurant, Happy Valley. It's a menu heavy on familiar Chinese flavours, while celebrating modern technique and local ingredients. Expect dim sum aplenty, alongside the likes of san choi bao, peking duck pancakes, XO pipis and a kung pao chicken laced with facing heaven chilli. Crisp Eugowra quail is done with lashings of szechuan pepper salt; char siu salmon pairs with coriander, sesame and a soft fried hen's egg; and steamed Port Arlington mussels come bathed in an aromatic ginger soy broth.
You can match your feed with a few crisp brews and some footy in the front bar, or perhaps take advantage of the Aussie-led wine lineup and a reserve list that's at once high-end and affordable.
Meanwhile, a comfy hideaway awaits upstairs in the elegant lounge bar, where DJs spin through the weekends and crafty cocktails come courtesy of Bar Manager Asher Spitz (Boilermaker House). Settle in with some mod-Chinese snacks matched to sips like the 'Espresso Tropicale' — a reworked classic featuring vodka, szechuan spices, espresso, lime and coconut.
The Albert Park Hotel will open soon on the corner of Montague Street and Dundas Place, Albert Park. We'll let you know as soon as an opening date is confirmed.
Images: Simon Shiff
Published on March 10, 2020 by Libby Curran