The Espy’s striking new beer garden, featuring a retractable glass roof and ocean views.
The Espy’s striking new look has been revealed ahead of the St Kilda landmark’s long-awaited reopening this Friday, November 23.
New photos offer a first glimpse of the 140-year-old hotel’s interior, following its ambitious revamp by Sand Hill Road.
The Melbourne pub group bought the Hotel Esplanade in May 2017, with CoreLogic records showing they paid $13.2 million, and have since been hard at work restoring the venue and its beloved live music scene.
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Some of the team behind the new-look Espy: Doug Maskiell (Sand Hill Road director), Nick Travers (Techne architect), Janenne Willis (The Espy artistic director), Justin Northrop (Techne architect), Eleisha Gray (Sand Hill Road stylist), Shaun Adams (The Espy venue program director) and Tom Birch (The Espy director). Picture: Jason Edwards
The Espy before Sand Hill Road took it over. Picture: Chris Eastman
The interior now: a mix of old world charm and contemporary flair.
The icon has been closed since May 2015. Its reopening will give punters access to parts of the building that have previously been closed to the public.
It’ll offer 12 bars, two restaurants and three music stages that will be serviced by 250 staff and sprawl across six levels.
Sand Hill Road director Doug Maskiell said a big focus of the revamp was to offer a variety of spaces for the more than 1700 patrons the hotel would now house at capacity.
“We wanted to make sure there’s always a reason to come here,” he said.
Inside the beer garden. Picture: Jason Edwards
The beer garden centres around a fireplace and is designed for all weather. Picture: Jason Edwards
Highlights include the all-weather beer garden with a retractable glass roof and ocean views, the 1970s-style Studio Bar that’s built around a podcast studio, and exclusive cocktail bar The Ghost of Alfred Felton.
The latter pays homage to the National Gallery of Victoria benefactor who lived on The Espy’s top storey, and guests will need to obtain a key from a ground-floor concierge to access it via lift.
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The swish main bar. Picture: Jason Edwards
The main bar from another angle. Picture: Jason Edwards
The Espy Kitchen will service most of the pub from charcoal grills, pizza ovens and rotisseries under head chef Ash Hicks, and be complimented by Cantonese restaurant Mya Tiger when it opens in early December.
Mr Maskiell said the group had decided “not to mess with” with the renowned Gershwin Room, which will host Melbourne’s The Teskey Brothers on Thursday night.
He said the show sold out in eight hours.
This was formerly the loading bay. Now it’s The Espy Kitchen — one of two restaurants in the hotel.
The Espy’s grand stairway will offer access to rooms never seen by the public before — until Friday, that is.
Other acts set to play the room — where SBS music quiz show RockWiz was famously filmed — include PP Arnold, Dan Sultan and Tex Perkins.
Techne Architecture and Interior Design are responsible for the National Trust-listed hotel’s sharp new interior, which adds a contemporary twist while honouring the Victorian building’s rich history, dating back to when it when it was a grand seaside hotel in the late-1800s.
“Everything that’s original Espy Hotel, we’ve restored and highlighted or matched,” Mr Maskiell said.
The Gershwin Room — where Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis filmed RocKwiz — has been preserved …
… but The Espy as a whole has come a long way since this photo was taken of patrons in the public bar in 2000.