Colonial Hotel

240 King St, Melbourne CBD 3000
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-late

Combining traditional pub ambience with modern decor, the Colonial Hotel is a relaxed, middle of the road establishment. It's the sort of place office workers go on a Friday night to belt out bad karaoke and drink jugs of Carlton. Drop in on a Saturday night and you'll probably find an assortment of Hen's nights underway - complete with tiaras and matching pink T-shirts. The actual venue has been around since 1854 and melds this old-school charm with more contemporary additions. The stonework and stained glass windows are still present and accounted for, but the lighting and plush couches make for an interesting mix of old and new. Aside from a comfortable dining area (offering 500g steaks), the venue has four private rooms available for hire if you don't like mixing with the general public. There's also a scattering of tables outside which provide a good vantage point for observing the more colourful characters lurking around King Street. If you're after something a bit more lively, the recently opened Brown Alley is a band room/nightclub above the main hotel. It hosts live music on Thursdays and club nights on the weekend. It also has some of the most 'retro-inspired' furniture and decor you're likely to stumble across in 2008. In any case, Brown Alley ads another dimension to the Colonial Hotel and helps sell the venue as a jack of all trades.