After 3 long years, Hotel Esplanade—more commonly known as The Espy—will reopen its doors this November.
Melbourne pub savers Sand Hill Road are behind the new, and improved Espy.
Pub veterans, the Sand Hill Road crew have revived pubs that were destined to be knocked down and turned into apartments. The Terminus Hotel in North Richmond, the Waterside Hotel in the city, and Prahran Hotel amongst others.
Hotel Esplanade still harbours the soul it had when its doors shut in 2015. The 140-year-old grand staircase still takes centre stage but now can actually be used to access the upstairs Cantonese restaurant Mya Tiger, or the top level private cocktail bar The Ghost Of Alfred Felton—named for the well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist who resided, and died in The Espy.
You're not going to go hungry, or thirsty upon a visit to The Espy. The front entrance is now a beer garden with a range of beers rotating on the taps behind the bar. Behind that you'll find the main bar, venture further and there's the Studio Bar, beyond that is the Espy Kitchen which is the engine room of everything food at Hotel Esplanade.
The Public Bar is where Espy Eats used to be, the street-level entrance. There's a beautiful wooden bar that takes up the length of the room. Downstairs from there, you'll find another bar and another stage where you can catch up and coming artists for free while you sample some fresh unpasteurised Carlton Draught.
The Gershwin Room has been preserved, and its better than ever. Other than an upgrade to the sound system and an addition of air con, it's the same Gershwin Room that's been rocking punters since the 60s.
The upgrade Hotel Esplanade is a massive venue, and it's going to take some time to explore. We'll bring you all the latest as it opens its doors.
Image credit: Mel Desa