Praise the live music gods: it looks as if St Kilda stalwart the Esplanade Hotel (or, as everyone calls it, the Espy) will rise again like a beautiful, beer-fuelled phoenix.
Two years ago, the 139-year-old heritage-listed pub and music venue suddenly closed its ocean-facing doors. Since then, its fate has been uncertain (it was rumoured that some internal construction work was being done, and music trivia night RocKwiz hosted a few shows there) until now.
Earlier this week, owner Vince Sofo sold the Espy to hotel group Sand Hill Road, who own well-loved pubs across Melbourne including Flinders Lane mega-pub Garden State, as well as the refurbished Prahran Hotel and Bridge Hotel.
According to a hospitality source referred to in The Age, Sand Hill Road are committed to retaining the Espy's live music pedigree. While the grungy venue might cop a bit of an overhaul (it's been said that a new beer garden might be on the cards), punters can (hopefully) look forward to the same quality of live music every week. Everyone from Paul Kelly to Paul Enemy has played here, as well as countless younger bands earning their stripes.
In an inner-city suburb where development places a constant threat on live entertainment venues (much-loved queer venue the Greyhound Hotel is its latest victim), it's very good news that the Espy appears to be in safe hands.