If you're a regular at Saigon Sally and have patiently waited in queues to have a bowl of pho at Hanoi Hannah, then the next venue on your hit-list will be the redesigned St. Hotel in St Kilda. Owners Paul Nguyen and Simon Blacher have once again worked their magic and transformed former nightlife destination, The Saint, into a sophisticated and fun restaurant, bar and club on Fitzroy Street.
The multi-tiered venue won over the St Kilda night owls in 1999 and, after years of housing popular DJs, short dresses and mixers, Nguyen decided to reinvent the 1950s venue into something more relevant to today's late-night crowd. 'In recent years, Fitzroy Street has taken a downturn, primarily catering to tourist living and cheap takeaway food. There's been a need for something new and upmarket but still retaining the essence of cool and a connection with the locals,' explains Nguyen.
With plans to open to the public in early November, the finishing touches to St. Hotel are currently being added to create this new and upmarket atmosphere Nguyen and Blacher have been aiming for. The venue has been separated into four different sections to suit all varieties of visitors. 'With the size of the new venue, it allows us to offer our customers a broader range of options in how they finish their evenings. Whether it begins with a fantastic meal, an after-work cocktail, a late-night drink relaxing in the Supper Club or dancing the night away in the Social Club, we can now offer the best of Melbourne all in one amazing space,' says Nguyen.
The downstairs bar and dining room at St Kilda's St. Hotel will be a more relaxed environment where draught beers, eclectic wines and cocktails can be sipped on. The dining room caters to the hungrier customers, with a modern and authentic Thai menu crafted by Head Chef, Sean Judd, who has also worked in the kitchens of some of Melbourne's best restaurants, Chin Chin and Longrain. Some of the key dishes at St. Hotel include the Chiang Mai hot dog, Larb northern Thai salad, Curried Barramundi fillet, Crispy caramel pork hock, Coconut braised lamb shoulder, Gai Yang and Stir-fried mud crab. Yum!
When it's time to continue the party, you need only venture upstairs to the Supper Club and Social Club. The Supper Club is inspired by the late-night lounges of Europe with comfy couches and pre-dinner aperitifs making it hard to move on to where all the action happens and where the night with inevitably end – The Social Club. This section of St. Hotel will play host to DJs and selected acoustics for those wanting to dance their socks off.
With the promise of all the St. Hotel has to offer and the opening date growing ever-closer, Nguyen looks back on his highs and lows of the journey. 'The biggest high for me is seeing the space come together in a way that I've always dreamt about…obviously the biggest low for me has been that the venue has taken much longer to complete than initially expected…but like they say, all good wine takes time to mature.'
Looks like Melbourne's best new bar is just around the corner, Listers!
St. Hotel will open early November
54 Fitzroy Street in St Kilda
Main image credit: St Hotel Facebook