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Melbourne East, Melbourne

Lincoln Hotel

91 Cardigan St, Carlton, VIC
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Lincoln Hotel Review

Review By James Vellar

Located on the corner of Queensberry and Cardigan streets, Carlton, stands the formidable Lincoln Hotel—a pioneer of the pub/restaurant fusion that has become renowned for its fine wine and boutique beer.

From the outside, The Lincoln Hotel looks like your typical, outmoded corner pub with a bleak half rendered half tiled façade and a single Coopers sign that shines green and dim down Queensberry St. Inside, any qualms arising from the somewhat lacking exterior are put aside as you are greeted by a monumental granite bar—the centrepiece of a recent renovation focussing on restoration rather than modernisation.

Almost everything from the tiled floor to the wall-supported tables in The Lincoln's front bar is earthen and traditional, and stems from the owners' vision to revamp the original 1940s art deco atmosphere. The lighting is intimate and opaque, with the underlying romantic feel of the place capped by a scattering of candles and a non-descript mix of jazz playing no louder than a whisper.

With no pokies and seemingly no affiliation or predisposition towards football, the Lincoln has somewhat focused its prospective clientele. A major drawcard being the hotel's award-winning dining room, which stands segregated from the bar both in ambience and in menu. They have a wine list longer than your arm and ten beers on tap—eight of which I'd never heard of.

Once known as a trade union bar, The Lincoln now accommodates a more upmarket patronage, housing a steady stream of middle aged professionals working in the area, the odd lingering tradesman type and the more 'refined' (affluent) students from nearby RMIT and Melbourne universities.

However there is always a price to be paid for such understated opulence! A pot of Coopers Pale will set you back $4.70 with all others (mainly boutiques) around an even $5. Basic Spirits are $9 and food from the bar menu ranges from $17-25. Weeknights are generally busy from 4-7pm and you will find it impossible to find a table until about 6pm. Weekends are more active with many coming for the food then staying on in the bar 'til late (12am close on Friday/Saturday).

If you love the smell of good food and wine corks, then The Lincoln is for you. In my opinion it far exceeds any pub in the area for quality of food and overall atmosphere. It is the perfect place to take a colleague or someone you are trying to impress, but with steep prices and an up-market attitude you may find it better reserved for that special occasion or one quick drink after work.

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