New hospitality venues at Queen Victoria Market offer more reason to “dine, shop and dwell in the precinct”

Brendan Rees

A popular craft brewery which began pouring its first drinks at the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) four years ago will soon call the former Mercat Cross Hotel its new home.

Brick Lane Brewing, which currently trades at String Bean Alley at QVM, has secured a 10-year lease at the site of the neighbouring hotel on the corner of Queen and Therry streets – where it will offer a two-level immersive craft beer and hospitality experience.

The iconic pub will be redeveloped into Brick Lane Market – with its doors expected to open by Christmas – marking a “transformative step” in the growth of the business, according to Brick Lane Brewing founder and CEO Paul Bowker.

“In four years, Brick Lane has become the second-largest independent brewery by capacity after Coopers and one of the largest partner brewing operations in Australia,” Mr Bowker said. “It’s incredibly exciting to now launch Brick Lane Market as a new venue among the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s laneways and in the location where we poured our first kegs.” 

The brewery is among seven businesses that will open their doors later this year as part of the $500 million Munro development next to the Queen Victoria Market.

They include sushi shop Moonfishh, ST. ALi & The Queen Coffee, Market Lane Coffee, and decadent, handmade delights store Only Mine Chocolate.

The new operators will join wine bar and bottle shop ReWine which has already opened next to the former Mercat Cross Hotel.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who joined Mr Bowker and QVM CEO Stan Liacos for the celebratory announcement at the Mercat Cross Hotel on June 16, said the new food and drink operators were a “real shot of confidence about what’s happening here at our Queen Victoria Market renewal.”

“Our major investment in the Queen Victoria Market precinct renewal program will ensure the iconic Melbourne attraction is a world-class destination for generations to come – with a diverse range of food and beverage, retail and creative offerings to encourage visitors to dine, shop and dwell in the precinct,” she said.

“The new hospitality venues in the Munro development will showcase the market’s sensational fresh produce to further enhance the profile of all our traders.”

Mr Liacos said his team was thrilled to welcome the new collective of businesses with the Munro development representing “an energising new chapter for the Queen Victoria Market precinct.”

He said it was particularly “special” and exciting to announce Brick Lane Brewing as a new venue after the business produced its first beer at the QVM’s winter night market in 2018.

Brick Lane Market’s new space, which will retain the hotel’s historical façade, will feature a bar and an upstairs restaurant with a focus on a diverse range of beers and local market produce.

There will also be a casual terrace offering sweeping views of the market, which Mr Bowker said was the “perfect platform for us to further celebrate Melbourne and Victoria’s renowned food and beverage industry.”

“We’re embedded in the community and having Stan [Liacos] and the Lord Mayor supporting us is a real thrill for us,” he said.

Mr Liacos said he expected the new traders to launch or be close to opening by October, with two further tenancies “tagged” but yet to sign a lease.

“It’s all about timing at the moment in getting trade material, anybody right now knows it’s hard, so we’ve allowed a little extra time to get ready.”

Overall, he said the new offerings were “outstanding” and was delivering on “our vision to create an active precinct across the week and into the evening.”

“It’s about eating, drinking, socialising, hanging out, and staying longer at the market.”

Once complete, the Munro development will feature a community hub with a three-level library, a boutique hotel, affordable housing, build-to-rent residential apartments and 2500 sqm of new open space.  

The development will also add new retail and hospitality space to the city’s inner north. •


Caption: Lord Mayor Sally Capp joins Brick Lane Brewing founder and CEO Paul Bowker, and Queen Victoria Market CEO Stan Liacos in announcing new hospitality businesses at the Queen Victoria Market precinct.

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