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Thursday 12 July 2018

Melbourne entertainment icon set to make a return

One of Melbourne' iconic entertainment venues is about to be re-born three years after it closed its doors.

St Kilda’s much-loved Hotel Esplanade will reopen this November, when leading hospitality group Sand Hill Road unveils its redevelopment of the seaside icon.

The Espy will be home to a range of lifestyle experiences and offer new dining, drinking and cultural destinations to Melbourne.

Andy Mullins, a Sand Hill Road director, fondly recalls what the previous owners told them the day the sale went through.

“They said that we might have bought The Espy, but we’d never really own it. It belongs to the people of Melbourne. We have always loved the pub, but we know that it holds a special place in many different hearts for many different reasons. There’s no other pub like it in Australia.”

The 140-year-old St Kilda landmark will employ up to 300 people when it reopens.

One of the most noticeable changes will be the size of the venue, with parts of the building people never knew existed opening up.

Visitors who remember the Espy as two levels will now be able to journey from the basement stage and iconic public bar to the expansive main bar, garden terrace overlooking St Kilda Pier, Gershwin Room, a fast-paced casual dining kitchen, Mya Tiger (a Cantonese restaurant with accompanying cocktail bar) and The Ghost of Alfred Felton (a sophisticated cocktail bar on the top floor).

Sand Hill Road’s vision is ultimately to create a pub where all Melburnians feel at home.

“We’re not trying to please one market, that’s not The Espy," says Mullins. "We’re going all out to create a world-class cocktail bar, and then only 27 stairs away have 800 people looking out to the ocean, drinking beers and smashing pizzas or heading into a gig at one of the stages inside. 

"Different types of people, there for different reasons, day and night. That’s always been The Espy - a melting pot of Melbourne”.

The Espy’s food offering will be led by executive chef Ash Hicks, while drinks will be curated by Kevin Peters and group sommelier Matt Skinner.

Hotel Esplanade is at 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda.

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