Prahran’s beloved Flying Duck Hotel is about to take triumphant flight again after changing hands and undergoing renovations.
Tucked away on a leafy backstreet, the Duck is as old-school as pubs come, with a massive beer garden and laidback counter service. Swing by the front bar on weekends and you’ll find the footy showing on two huge screens; step into the main bar during winter and you’ll find couples cosied up on leather chesterfields by the fire. A private dining room offers full table service, but the main drawcard here has got to be the beer garden.
Seriously, it’s great. The long wooden tables are shaded by sturdy palm trees, there’s an enclosed glass atrium and even a fairylight-decked marquee tent. The tap beers pour freely and include craft faves like Stone & Wood and Blue Moon. Wines are mostly domestic, though there are some international numbers as well, and a cocktail menu starring Melbourne Mules and Pomegranate Margaritas.
You want to talk food? Strap in, it keeps getting better. The menu has been revamped along with the premises to accommodate fancier fare like lamb rump, rib eye and pork sliders, but you’ll still find pub classics like burgers, steaks and wings coming out of the kitchen. The chicken parma, arguably one of the best in Melbourne, can be done as a half or full serve, and in a cheeky nod to their spirit animal, duck breast makes an appearance as a main dish.
The kids’ menu is, rather adorably, called 'Ducklings' - and proves once again that small people don’t necessarily need to be an afterthought, with mini steaks, mini parmas, and fish ‘n’ chips. In terms of sharable food, there’s a good-sized charcuterie board with cured meats, pickles and bruschetta as well as a cheese platter with quince paste and lavosh crackers. Not to mention properly crispy beer-battered chips and golden salt ‘n’ pepper squid with lime aioli.
The Duck narrowly escaped demolition last year after developers proposed a six-level apartment block, but angry locals proved they really did give a flying f*ck by crying fowl to council. Now it seems unlikely it will be going anywhere soon – especially not with that beer garden. Whether you’re flying solo or with the whole flock, this old bird is the perfect place for an easygoing Sunday session.
Image credit: Gareth Sobey for The Urban List