Bars and Nightclubs
Melbourne East, Melbourne

Precinct Hotel

60 Swan St, Richmond, VIC
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Originally established in 1926, the Precinct Hotel today represents the culinary, corporate and casual delights that see Melbourne as a stand out international destination for visitors and preferred abode for many. Nestled in the heart of Richmond and simultaneously catering for a versatile range of occasions, the Precinct Hotel is a family owned and operated establishment that offers a warm yet sophisticated atmosphere, guaranteed to make any soiree an unforgettable occasion. From intimate dining and live entertainment to big screen sporting events over the weekend… Precinct Hotel is the place to be in Melbourne.

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What to Expect @ The Precinct Hotel

By Cassandra Tan

Are you looking for somewhere where you can dance the night away? Or perhaps you’d like to just chill out with a drink and watch the latest sports on a large television screen?

Have you ever considered the possibility of doing both at the same place? Well, if this is the night out you are looking for then the place to be is The Precinct Hotel.

Located at 60 Swan Street Richmond, The Precinct Hotel is a mixture of a pub with fun, sports and music with a dress code of smart casual for a Friday and Saturday night. If you want to avoid the long wait in line, which often snakes around the corner, you can go in early for dinner and choose something to your liking from the wide selection on the menu. Dinner is served every night from 6 – 9pm and lunch is also available seven days a week from 12 – 3 pm.

Quite often on a Saturday night it can get very busy, so if you want to avoid lining up I suggest you get there around 9:30pm or earlier.

Once inside you are greeted with a large bar area with lots of tables and stools to sit around and have a chat. To one side there is a large television located fairly high so you can see the action from most angles in the bar area – most of the time a sports game is playing on the television.

If you want somewhere to enjoy the outside air, there is a large area with plenty of seating and standing room available. The best part of being outside is there is another bar stretching right across the back wall.

When (or if) you’re ready to cut the chatting and get your feet moving you can head to the dance floor where there is great music to get your body moving. Friday nights feature one of the best cover bands in Melbourne, Good vs Evil, playing some of the best music from Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam to Black Eyes Peas. Towards the end of the night the DJ changes up the tone of music and mixes it around from RnB to Top 50 and even a bit of Retro.

Saturday nights hear the sounds of the well known Mr Palmer. Playing some of the best music to sing-a-long to as well as dance. Some of the favourites are ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and ‘Wonderwall’. The night is then wrapped up with some of the latest commercial mixes.

To finish of the weekend with a few laid back drinks and a catch up, you can listen to the sound Jason Singh and Friends as they play a good selection of songs to chill out to on a Sunday afternoon.

If you’re worried about how old or young you have to be to fit in at The Precinct Hotel, then worry no more. All ages from 18 onwards are welcomed at The Precinct Hotel – no one is left out.

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A 2nd Look @ The Precinct Hotel

By Tom O’Byrne

I was bubbling with excitement as the train pulled into Richmond Station and revealed, for the very first time, The Precinct Hotel. Unlike most bars in town, none of my friends or I had ever been there before, and so I only had only a loose collection of words to go by: ‘dance floor’, ‘big bouncers’ and ‘expensive’. As I handed the (not overly large) bouncer my I.D, I wondered if my experience of The Precinct would mimic that illusive feeling of a fantastic night out, or that sour disappointment of my wallet and night wasted. By the time I had left, I had experienced a bit of both.

The Good
Firstly, one cannot describe the Precinct Hotel without mentioning it’s location – it is, in a word, perfect. A stone’s throw from Richmond station and short tram ride to the city, getting to the Precinct and then stumbling home is painless. Caution however: those looking for some post-drinking fast food will have a slight hike ahead of them. B.Y.O. Big Macs.

The Precinct tends to service a mid-twenties crowd, with a great split between the genders. Its draws quite a sizable crowd on a Friday night, and the warm atmosphere makes this a great place to pick up.

The Precinct also boasts one of the best outdoor sections I’ve yet come across. Half the outdoor section has enclosed roofing and it is heated and seated for great conversation. The other half is for smokers, but non-smokers will be happy to know that, due to great circulation, the smell of cigarettes is almost non-existent. Coupled with the fully staffed bar, the outdoor section is easily the best part of the Precinct.

The Bad
Things tend to go downhill from there. Though the main/middle section is not terrible, there are two glaring faults: the wait for drinks and the overcrowding. You’ll find both these problems at most bars, but a ten minute wait for drinks is pretty rough and rather strange, considering that the bar itself stretches the entire length of the room. Dear Precinct, stop being cheap-skates and hire some more bar staff! Given what I paid for your drinks I’m sure you’re not taking too much of a loss.

As for the overcrowding, its only an issue because the main section is packed with tables and chairs… that nobody was using. For those looking to sit down, the outdoor section has ample seating. Precinct, cut the chairs and lets us breath!

The Ugly
Carpet, wood, lino…just some of the floorings that the Precinct could’ve used for it’s dance floor instead of concrete. The Precinct Hotel’s website reliably informs me that the hotel has existed since 1926, which means nobody, in 84 years, has thought to change the dance floor. What gives? Not only is it uncomfortable to dance on, but concrete and glass tend to have a rather uneasy relationship. Ladies, it’s not a choice of flats or heels – combat boots are a requirement for the Precinct’s dance floor.

As for the music, Friday nigh’s DJ Johno, whose name is as creative as his setlist, got the ladies to the floor and got the broken glass jumping. He was okay, but he didn’t really seem to do much apart from pressing ‘Play’. More enthusiasm, please.

DJ Johno’s set was preceded by a house band whose biggest failing was that they were, in fact, a house band. I’m not saying they were terrible, but compared to Ke$ha’s recount of the morning she woke up feeling like a 40 year old African-American rapper, house bands never quite seem to get a place moving.

Despite these criticisms, I think you should check out The Precinct Hotel. The outdoor section is pretty fantastic and, unlike me, maybe you’re able to withstand the crappy dance floor for the sake of some good old fashioned grinding. Though it’s a sickening cliche, the Precinct Hotel has a little something for everybody.

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A 2nd Look @ The Precinct Hotel

By Tegan Dunne

Located on Swan Street in the heart of Richmond and just down the road from the iconic MGC, this venue is perfect for either a chilled night out or a big party night. The building is at first hard to see as it is painted all black and tucked behind a row of shops, but the big white Precinct sign is what you’re looking for. The entrance foyer retains the old style of the hotel (first opened in 1920s) with almost a gothic feel and a huge staircase will take you up to the toilets and the cloak room.

The main area has a more modern feel and is set out across one level, which has spacious dance floor adjoined to a lounge area. Next to the dance floor is the bar and seating, leading onto an outside, undercover courtyard with another bar and a pretty chilled environment; although this is also the smoker’s area and is by no means a place to get fresh air.

Inside on the dance floor you will expect to hear mainstream music and all the current top hits from the DJ. Set time is shared with a live band playing old classics rock and roll and sing alongs. It can get extremely crowded and hard to move in the main area so for a more relaxed atmosphere the courtyard is a good place to sit, have a drink and watch whichever sport is playing on the plasma televisions.

Friday nights tend to draw and older crowd whereas Saturday nights are the night for a young to mid twenties crowd and most nights tend to be male dominated. Be warned; during football season expect to see people coming to the Precinct after a game at the G and they are usually a rowdy crowd.Drinks prices are standard, beer and wine prices ranges with quality and spirits and cocktails are also available. Food is also served but tables tend to be cleared out at around 8:30-9:30 to make room for the dance floor, so if you’re looking to eat you should turn up early. Be sure to arrive at the venue before 10:30pm or it can be up to a 2 hour wait for entry (mainly Saturdays.)

If you’re looking for a place to have a drink and a dance The Precinct will provide, but offers more of a bar/pub feel than a nightclub.

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