The Pier:

Cunningham Pier, Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong VIC
(03) 5222 6444 or www.thepiergeelong.com.au
Photos: Shannon McGrath

Endearing himself to Geelong locals is Cameron Ling’s stock and trade. With two AFL premierships under his belt, if it hasn’t earned the footballer keys to the city by now, it certainly has opened a few doors. The Geelong Football club skipper part owns The Edge Hotel, Newtown’s Gold Diggers Arms Hotel and now The Pier.
The Pier used to be called Smorgy’s, a smorgasbord diner on Cunningham pier that drew a crowd of schoolkids trying to eat their weight in roast beef and doughnuts, and families biding their time for the half-time animatronic dinner show comprising Salty the Seal and his jaunty choir of sea creatures. But Smorgy’s light faded, and now the sizeable venue has undergone a massive facelift.

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Circa 2010

The Prince:

2 Acland St, St Kilda VIC
(03) 9536 1111 or www.theprince.com.au

The Prince of Wales has a split personality: for Melbourne rock fans, it’s a rite of passage that leads straight out of the front bar, past security, and upstairs to the band room. If you let it out of the bag that the Prince is also home to a fine dining restaurant and upmarket boutique hotel, they’d likely chortle, slap you on the back, look you up and down thinking, ‘this guy has no idea’, then never speak of it again. And it’s probably best left that way. For never has a venue played the chords for two different demographics with such aplomb.

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Functional & Special

Harbour Room:

Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron,  Pier Road, St Kilda
(03) 9534 1300 orwww.foodanddesire.com

Food & Desire has been busy since Leigh Worcester and his partner took over the business in the new millennium. A change of direction led the catering company from corporate lunches to far more ambitious functions, and since then they’ve refashioned a nightclub on the rim of Albert Park Lake as the super-serene Carousel function space. This year sees Food & Desire expand again, this time into St Kilda’s Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, where they’ve taken on the lease of the second-storey function space, called Harbour Room (designed by Chris Connell of MAP), as well as rustling up tucker for hearty sea-faring club members.

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