In Changing Times by Clyde Mooney

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Melbourne’s hallowed Oxford Scholar Hotel has returned after two years in the wilderness, under a new lease by the growing Mahony Group.

Built 1857, the Oxford Scholar is on land owned by RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), on the corner of Swanston and A’Beckett Streets.

For 26 years it was operated by Malcolm Wulf until the Victorian government’s new $11bn rail tunnel under Swanston Street disrupted business to the point he closed the doors in June 2017.

The Mahony Group (TMG), which also operates the Windsor Alehouse and a number of hostels in Melbourne, has now taken on a new lease with the University, with a lavish renovation, designed by March Studio.  

Reimagining of the historic three-storey building has included the creation of new bars, multiple dining and event spaces and a plant-filled courtyard, and the two upper levels transformed into elegant function spaces.

The new-look interior is billed as a “warm and engulfing dining experience with a touch of tweed” and guided by March Studio director Rodney Eggleston’s own history attending the campus, studying architecture.

“We drew inspiration from the old English colonial pub, but represented and manipulated it to provide a democratic space for all, which is what RMIT stands for,” offers Eggleston.

The pub’s indelible link to the institution is alive and well – affirmed by the function spaces being exclusively available to RMIT staff, students and alumni.

RMIT affiliates also receive a 15 per cent discount on food and beverages via the Oxford Scholar app. Geographic locals are entitled to a 10 per cent discount through the app.

Now open and trading again, Mahony Group says it is presenting a menu line-up pitched at the modern student ideal.

“Diners can expect a wide selection of both local and international sourced craft beers, cider and wine, paired with a menu showcasing fresh locally sourced produce through innovative and seasonally appropriate dishes,” explains operations manager Jimmy Ujgunovski.

Oxford Scholar Hotel