Freshly Shucked


Albert Park Hotel Oyster Bar & Grill

83 Dundas Place, Albert Park VIC
(03) 9690 5459 or

The Melbourne Pub Group knows how to do a gastro pub. Spearheaded by Julian Gerner, Melbourne Pub Group has been busying itself turning old titles into new gold, and The Albert Park Hotel is one of a long list of revitalised pubs given back their dignity as part of a stylish return to form. Others include Richmond’s Public House (sold in 2007) and the Middle Park Hotel (with the Royal Saxon Hotel another that Julian owns with Paul Olynyk). In 2006, Albert Park Hotel was one of the first Gerner cast his well-tuned eye over, calling in Six Degrees Architects to design the interior with their trademark reclaimed style. A few years on and Mark Healy and the Six Degrees team were back at Albert Park to have a fresh look at the rear of the pub. As with most pubs, the back end housed a lot of the back of house, the kitchen and thoroughfare to the outdoor courtyard. “It was just the back end of everything,” Healy put it succinctly. But, after a few years getting to know their clientele, the owners wanted to make something more of the space, and settled on the idea of a seafood restaurant with plenty of oysters, hence the Albert Park Hotel Oyster Bar & Grill. Paul Wilson (ex-Botanical), lover of sea creatures great and small, stepped in to design the menu, before handing it over to Melbourne Pub Group head chef Stephen Burke. Whole fresh fish on the bone in four Mediterranean styles takes centre stage on the menu, and there are, of course, market specials of the day as well as oysters chilled on ice.

Rather than try and divide the restaurant from the rest of the bar, Six Degrees adopted the ‘language’ of the posts and radial shapes used throughout to create a “dedicated looser space, but still connected… with more of a communal sharing feel,” according to Healy. It has its own identity though with a dynamic red gum beamed ceiling, Carera marble communal table running down the centre and tables made by Drew Fay using timber from the old Station Pier. Eames chairs and a Hollywood-style fish tank cap off the look. A lot of time was spent determining how to adjust the traffic paths of customers and staff to ensure the restaurant wasn’t just a well-decorated thoroughfare, and the result works.

Outdoors, Six Degrees designed a new glass canopy to shelter locals seeking the bracing waft of the sea breeze with their oysters.

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