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New pubs in old hotels

/ 31 Oct 2018
Crusty beer mats, pesky bar flies and the lingering odor of stale beer has given way to the newest generation of restored pubs to emerge in Melbourne in time for the arrival of the summer sun.

The much-anticipated return of Hotel Esplanade headlines Melbourne’s newest opening in November 2018. The iconic St Kilda live music venue will open its doors for the first time in three-and-a-half years after the Sand Hill Road group – the publicans behind Garden State Hotel, Prahran Hotel and Richmond Club Hotel – gave the historic hotel a new lick of paint and then some. Affectionally known as ‘The Espy’, the venue will host live music seven nights a week across three band rooms and featuring a culinary offering to rival any other. For the first time ever, all five levels will be open to the public offering music, arts, cocktails, beer, wine, food and fun, including a new bar located in the top floor apartment of former long-term resident and philanthropist Alfred Felton. 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182, (03) 9534 0211

Down the road from The Espy, St Kilda’s historic Village Belle Hotel has also recently received a significant facelift. The revamped hotel has been restored, renovated and is now an all-purpose, sleek, contemporary, double-storey venue encompassing all-year-round beer garden, public bar and cocktail lounge across four distinct areas. The new light-filled beer garden sits harmoniously with the heritage pub and features an indoor oasis of greenery and a retractable roof, to make it functional all year round. The new kitchen is headed up by award-winning former Executive Chef of Chateau Yering and The Lake House Mathew Macartney, who proudly sources the best local and sustainable produce resulting in delicious, outstanding pub food. 202 Barkly St, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182, (03) 9525 4000

South of the Yarra River is the redeveloped The Albion in South Melbourne. The Albion was due to open in 2015 before a fire ripped through the historic venue just weeks before it was due to re-open.  Located across the road from the renowned South Melbourne Market and a stone’s throw from the city centre, The Albion now sprawls three floors with complete function level, decadent club and an incredible rooftop. The all-weather rooftop offer unprecedented views of the Melbourne CBD skyline, including weather provisions to outsmart Melbourne’s temperamental skies cementing this as a go-to hot spot all year round. 172 York St, South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205, (03) 9645 5277

The 154-year-old Park Hotel reopened its doors to patrons in Abbotsford following a redevelopment project from the team behind The Royston. The façade has remained but the interior of the century old pub has been overhauled. The front bar’s original wood panelling, polished timber floors and patterned carpets have stayed but the rest of the venue has been given a facelift with new tiling, greenery, bar stools and Australian artwork. Along with the public bar, the development has included a beer garden with banquette seating and an outdoor pool table. 191 Nicholson St, Abbotsford, Victoria, 3067, (03) 9427 2030

The East Brunswick Hotel reopened in August as the latest manifestation of the Lygon Street mainstay. Since the 1880’s The East has come and gone in various forms but the newest incarnation is a three-level pub boasting a live music program, pub fare and an underground dining space. Six years after the famed band room hosted its last gig, the venue will play host to live gigs from Thursday through Sunday. The Hotel now comprises 12 boutique style serviced apartments, public bar, private cellar dining room and upstairs cocktail bar and balcony. 280 Lygon St, Brunswick East, Victoria, 3057, (03) 9380 1086

State of Grace opens its doors this month to the delight of nightime dwellers. Located at the top end of the city on King Street, this hidden gem returns better than ever with a bustling restaurant on street level with a little European flavour and hidden cellar bar. Patrons can sneak through the back and open the secret entrance to a winding marble staircase to a Fall From Grace, where they will enter a world of decadence and cocktails. 27 King St, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, (03) 8563 0020

Located in the heart of Carlton, Green Man's Arms offers a new take on pub grub with the kitchen dishing up vegetarian and vegan dishes with a Mediterranean influence. This classic Melbourne pub with a difference comes to life through a menu which features local favourite home made vegan dumplings, polenta cakes, golden beets, charred eggplants, and their infamous flat bread tacos. Visitors to the plant-powered pub, which was recently given a refresh, can enjoy the warmth and cosiness of an open fire in winter. 418 Lygon St, Carlton, Victoria, 3053, (03) 9347 7419

From the outside, the 100-year-old Prince Alfred Hotel hotel hasn't changed, however the team from 100 Burgers Group - the brains trust behind Belle's Hot Chicken, Welcome to Thornbury and Mr Burger - have given the interior an overhaul. With the University of Melbourne across the road, this historic venue is fondly remembered by students and the Carlton community since 1926. Along with a new rich and flamboyant interior, a new rooftop bar and terrace has been installed, bringing Melbourne’s obsession with rooftop drinking to Carlton. 191 Grattan St, Carlton, Victoria, 3053, (03) 9982 1813

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