The western suburbs have received another taste of the pub-reno trend that’s been sweeping Melbourne this year. This time, it’s the Mona Castle Hotel in Seddon that’s been given a once-over; the corner spot on Austin Street still has its humble, old-school pub facade, but the interiors have been modernised in a casual, familiar way.

It’s now in the hands of Nick Schultze and Bradley Olsson, both of the Ascot Vale Hotel. The pair met at Yarraville’s Railway Hotel, where Schultze was working at the time. Olsson was playing footy on that side of town and had gotten to know the Railway crew over a few beers; one thing led to another and Olsson ended up joining the team.

Fast-forward to lockdown, when the pair saw the Mona Castle Hotel was up for sale. The historic pub was forced to close in late 2020 after roughing it during Melbourne’s lockdowns.

“There were rumours of it going on the block, or [being] knocked down,” recalls Schultze. But the decidedly “west-side-driven” duo jumped at the opportunity to return the 1874-built pub to its former glory.

It’s about “keeping the old customer happy”, Olsson says, so they’ve retained the original bones – including the horseshoe island bar – and knocked down a few walls to open it up. They’ve also rejuvenated the cellar downstairs as well as the banquet room, which is designed to give families a quieter space away from the public bar.

As for the menu, it’s all about the classics. “We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” says Schultze. Expect shareable sausage rolls and dim sims; family-sized pies with mash, peas and a gravy boat; and a Sunday roast. On Wednesday, it’s steak night, while Thursday is locals night – with meat tray raffles, $4 pots and $8 house wines.

There are riotous celebrations for all Western Bulldogs games. “We want to have as many Dogs scarves in the venue as possible,” says Olsson. And on your way out, make sure to tip your hat to the arm-in-arm Warnie and Merv Hughes photo that hangs above the door.

Mona Castle Hotel
45–53 Austin Street, Seddon

Hours:
Mon 4pm–late
Tue to Sun 12pm–late

monacastlehotel.com