Melbourne’s Waterside Hotel’s stunning revamp revealed
Historic pub the Waterside Hotel has officially reopened after being revamped by Sand Hill Road — the group that bought St Kilda’s landmark Espy Hotel earlier this year.
The hotel on the corner of Flinders and King streets now features four different drinking and eating spaces across its three levels, ranging from an American dive bar that serves hot dogs, tinnies and bottled cocktails through to a champagne and cocktail lounge.
It also features a piece of The Espy, which Sand Hill Road bought at the same time as the Waterside in February and is in the early stages of restoring.
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The pub group, which also owns Flinders Lane’s Garden State Hotel, bought the grand city pub from a syndicate of AFL stars including Nick Riewoldt and Nathan Brown.
It dates back to 1853, when it was known as the Mercantile and was the first port of call to Melbourne from the Yarra River.
“It’s had a really important role in Melbourne life for a long time,” Sand Hill Road director Matt Mullins says.
Mullins says he and his partners — brother Andy, Andrew Larke, Doug Maskiell and Tom Birch — didn’t need to rebuild the pub, just “reimagine” it.
The ground floor of the new-look Waterside still features a traditional Aussie public bar, now named the “Ale House”, which will specialise in rare and largely American craft beers.
This section also features the “Chophouse”, to serve quality cuts of meat expertly grilled by former QT Melbourne, Cumulus and Merricote head chef Stuart Munro.
The eatery is fitted with four large booth seats transported from The Espy’s famed Gerswhin Room, where SBS music quiz show RocKwiz was filmed.
Completing this level is late-night bar the “Doghouse” — a cross between an American dive bar and sports bar, offering up gourmet hot dogs, tinnies and bottled cocktails.
Mullins says the latter, created by Garden State’s cocktail maestro Kevin Peters, are rare in Melbourne but “there’s barely a cocktail bar in London and New York that doesn’t have a range of bottled cocktails”.
Champagne and cocktail bar the “Bubblehouse” is the next floor up. And the lop level features “The Roof”, formerly The Deck — one of Melbourne’s original rooftop bars.
Mullins says he scoured Australia, France and the UK for furniture, artwork and other fittings that now add colour to the pub, which still retains its King St grit.
He says the group is finalising designs for its other project, The Espy, which is on track to reopen late next year.
Sand Hill Road also owns Richmond’s Bridge Hotel, Holliava, The Posty and Richmond Club Hotel, Abbotsford’s Terminus Hotel and the Prahran Hotel.
This article from The Herald Sun was originally published as “New look for historic Melbourne CBD pub the Waterside Hotel”.