Prince Public Bar

This iconic St Kilda pub has been reborn, with a reconfigured interior architecture that restores its former glory and celebrates its storied history, while also laying the foundation for a bright future.

The refur­bish­ment of the Prince Pub­lic Bar is part of a wider pro­gram of work at St Kilda’s Prince Hotel, which includes the Prince Din­ing Room and Lit­tle Prince Wine. But in some ways it’s the most impor­tant part, giv­en its promi­nent loca­tion and direct con­nec­tion to life on Fitzroy Street.

Time had not been kind to the bar, so we set about restor­ing orig­i­nal art deco fea­tures that had been removed or con­cealed, reori­ent­ing aspects of the floor plan to cre­ate greater con­nec­tion between inte­ri­or spaces and, by replac­ing win­dows in the front façade with doors, open­ing the inte­ri­or up to the street.

St Kil­da, Boon­wur­rung Land



Floor Area


Pre­vi­ous­ly sec­tioned off into a pub­lic bar and queer friend­ly bar, the space is now uni­fied around a sin­gle large bar that reimag­ines the orig­i­nal open lay­out. The pride flag that once hung on the divid­ing wall is remem­bered in the rain­bow sheen of a dichroic glass bot­tle shelf.

A cen­tral block of toi­lets was moved to the rear of the build­ing, open­ing up the floor plan and cre­at­ing space for a new bistro-style din­ing zone. Research into the his­to­ry of the build­ing revealed that the Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­er of the hotel’s orig­i­nal floor tiles is still in oper­a­tion, so sim­i­lar tiles were sourced and laid in a new pat­tern that defines the bistro as well as hall­ways and access points.

In addi­tion to restor­ing the bar’s peri­od fea­tures, we’ve also hon­oured the rich cul­tur­al his­to­ry of the place, with pho­tographs, posters and visu­al arti­facts that doc­u­ment the dif­fer­ent ways the space has been used, from grand sea­side hotel to sticky-floored rock venue.

The inte­ri­or is giv­en a con­tem­po­rary edge with a palette that includes nat­ur­al tim­bers and rain­bow-fin­ished steel; robust mate­ri­als that are prac­ti­cal for the busy pub envi­ron­ment, and that will pati­nate over time, adding char­ac­ter and personality.

The Prince Pub­lic Bar now recre­ates the clas­sic pub envi­ron­ment, with a diverse range of options for patrons. For exam­ple, stand­ing at the cen­tral bar, perch­ing on a stool at a high table, loung­ing on a ban­quette, or hav­ing a meal in the bistro. 

This reflects the broad­er strat­e­gy at the Prince Hotel, to offer a menu of expe­ri­ences that meet dif­fer­ent needs and dif­fer­ent moods, from hotel accom­mo­da­tion and for­mal din­ing, to a pub meal or a quick glass of wine. And bring­ing these all togeth­er, one final piece of engi­neer­ing work: the relo­ca­tion of a back-of-house stair­way to pro­vide a direct con­nec­tion between the hotel lob­by and the pub.

Not long ago, the front façade of the Prince Pub­lic Bar was seem­ing­ly impen­e­tra­ble and intim­i­dat­ing to all but the most sea­soned locals. Now it’s open and hos­pitable, a con­tem­po­rary pub that wel­comes everyone.



Pho­tog­ra­phy: Sharyn Cairns
Brand­ing: Susu Stu­dio
Con­trac­tor: CRC Con­struc­tion
Project Man­ag­er: SCR Construction