A little over a month ago rumours began swirling that one of Melbourne’s iconic venues was about to be sold to a developer. At the time the finger was pointed at both the Prince Of Wales and The Palace who both who denied such rumours, with The Prince stating ‘the rumours are not true, the Prince Bandroom is not closing down!’.
However today we learn that those statements may have been misleading as live music could again be under threat in Melbourne after The Prince Of Wales Hotel in St Kilda was sold to a developer with a history in upmarket pub dining.
The Prince Bandroom has been a live music venue for over 60 years, with acts such as Coldplay, Lenny Kravitz, Smashing Pumpkins, as well as a plethora of local acts gracing the stage.
The iconic live music venue has been purchased by The Melbourne Pub Group, including the public bar, bandroom, the Circa restaurant, Mink bar, The Deck event space and a 40-room boutique hotel, for an undisclosed sum from John van Haandel.
According to The Age the new owner is giving no guarantees that they will continue to host live music in the iconic bandroom. “The bandroom will operate as it is for the moment,” said Julian Gerner, from the Melbourne Pub Group. “If we do decide to touch it down the track then I’ll make sure I communicate that when it happens. We’re not entertainment operators … our focus is on food. We believe if we do good food, we’ll do good business.”
The former owner has retained the freehold over the complex and plans to start development of a residential apartment tower over the top of the five-storey carpark. Even if the new owners were keen on keeping live music in the complex such a development would no doubt put more pressure on the operation.
Fans of the rest of the complex outside of the bandroom will begin to see changes shortly with a gastro-pub menu coming to the public bar and a new chef at the Circa restaurant. The biggest changes announced so far will be at Mink bar which will be turned into a late night dinner spot with bar facilities.
Update Midday 14th October 2011:
The Prince Bandroom has just issued a press release:
Following the recent sale of the Prince group we assure you that the Prince Bandroom will still be delivering live music. With a full calendar for the next few months and a heap of shows ready to be announced for the New Year we will still be bringing you the most exciting national and international bands as we have for all these years. We want to thank everyone for their concern and support and are overwhelmed with the reaction from locals and the music industry.