While the Oxford Scholar name may conjure up old images of the Establishment; with flocked wall paper and English accents, Eggleston was quick to clarify that the only thing old about the Oxford Scholar today was its name and its heritage listed walls flanking Swanston and A’Beckett Streets.
“We drew inspiration from the old English colonial pub but represented and manipulated it to provide a democratic space for all, which is what RMIT stands for,” he said.
Using technology to reinvent the original, Eggleston said the Oxford Scholar was designed to be an inclusive space where alumni, students and the community could “plug in and tap out”.
Student Union (RUSU) President Ella Gvildys said it was fantastic to see this social hub for students finally re-open.
"RUSU is excited to see the Oxford Scholar back in operation and we look forward to seeing what kinds of events are possible in the renovated space," she said.
Property Services Executive Director Chris Hewison said he was delighted that the historic building refurbishment was now complete.
“We’ve transformed a beloved student watering hole and ensured its future, not just for RMIT students, staff and alumni, but also the wider community,” he said.
“And with the top two floors being used as bookable function spaces exclusively for staff, student and alumni, we’ve also created another place for the RMIT community to connect and collaborate.”
The Oxford Scholar has been leased to the Mahony Group (TMG) who, in late 2018, won the tender to manage day-to-day operations.
Mahony Group Operations Manager Jimmy Ujgunovski said he was looking forward to providing a food offering that reflected the contemporary market and met the needs of a varied community.
“A big focus is having a good source of entertainment and a wide range of locally-sourced craft beer on offer,” he said.
“The menu will also feature fresh products that are sourced locally and provide options for shared plates or individual choices.”
The venue has been expanded with flexibility in mind and boasts a significant increase in capacity, with the modernised ground floor now licensed for up to 280 patrons.
Story: Jasmijn van Houten and Amelia Harris