St Kilda’s beloved Esplanade Hotel is finally ready to swing open the doors in a fresh new chapter in the pub's history. The Sand Hill Road hospitality group (Garden State Hotel, the Terminus) is behind the amazing revival, which from photos looks tres lush. There's a spot in the expansive watering hole for all speeds of drinking and dining. There's a curb-side beer garden, a basement stage, public bar, main bar, garden terrace with a retractable glass roof and views out over the St Kilda pier, the Gershwin Room bandroom, and a casual dining room. The venue will also open a Cantonese restaurant and cocktail bar by year's end. After all that work, staff are not about to just chuck some parmas back on the menu and be done with it – they're installing charcoal grills, pizza ovens and rotisseries. Plus there'll be weekend brunch from 9am with crab omelettes, scrambled tofu and avocado, and mushroom and halloumi rolls.
We just had news that in Sydney, the new Employees Only speakeasy has a séance room, but here at the Espy we're getting a fully functioning podcast studio that can be booked, and at the top of the famous 140-year-old staircase there are 19th-century art- and science-themed rooms.
And as to the music program, the three stages are packed with a true cross-section of Melbourne's music scene, from the newcomers playing their first gigs to international acts wanting to play in that hallowed bandroom: already on the line-up are ticketed gigs from the Teskey Brothers, PP Arnold, Tex Perkins, Dan Sultan and the Chats.
Hotel Esplanade, opens Fri Nov 23. 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda 3182.
Fancy seeing a gig? Check one of Melbourne's best live music pubs.