melbourne: prahran hotel renewal

© prahran hotel / peter clarke photography

what makes a cool neighbourhood is defined by a myriad of factors. but if you ask us, architecture and a good variety of stores and hospitality venues is key. melbourne's prahran neighbourhood has all the prerequisites, in addition to a cosmopolitan demographic, and in recent years it has slowly emerged as a nucleus of hipster life. adding up to this growing reputation is the recently revamped prahran hotel, one of the area's notable watering holes with a history that dates back to the 1940s. owned by sand hill road, a local hospitality group with a string of establishments further north in richmond, prahran hotel reopened after a striking make-over that took two years to complete.

local practice techne architects was enlisted to come up with a bold new design that would match the true values of the bar. as a result the 1970s extension was demolished and replaced by a eye-popping wing that incorporates 17 custom-made concrete pipes. these are stacked like beer kegs, that invite the eye from the street-front through to the interiors with a selection being reserved for booth seating for two, six or 12 people, finished with leather banquette seating and timber paneling. inside, a courtyard has been created, shaded by a chinese elm tree and with a five metre-long bar and collapsible tables that give way to ample room for your slickest dance moves on weekends.

the original bar remains very much at the heart of prahran hotel's concept, and it has served as a source of inspiration for the new wing's interior design. the venue now boasts three separate bars and a function room with views of the courtyard, and accessed by a steel gantry that connects the indoor various spaces. and as drinks and food go hand in hand, the menu here offers plenty of options of simple but tasty bar fare, from chicken parmas and steaks, to salads and seafoods. mind you, friday nights [from 5pm] at prahran hotel is dedicated to karma kegs, where a whole keg of carlton draught beer is tapped and you only pay whatever you feel is 'karmically fair', and with all funds raised being donated to a nominated charity. location: 82 high street [prahran].

© prahran hotel / peter clarke photography