The Espy’s stunning new look revealed ahead of reopening

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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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.

The interior now: a mix of old world charm and contemporary flair.

Espy St Kilda

Inside the beer garden. Picture: Jason Edwards

Espy beer garden St Kilda

The beer garden centres around a fireplace and is designed for all weather. Picture: Jason Edwards

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 says a big focus of the revamp is to offer a variety of spaces for the more than 1700 patrons the hotel will now house at capacity.

“We wanted to make sure there’s always a reason to come here,” he says.

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 Espy St Kilda

The swish main bar. Picture: Jason Edwards.

This was formerly the loading bay. Now it’s The Espy Kitchen — one of two restaurants in the hotel.

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.

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.

Maskiell says the group has decided “not to mess with” with the renowned Gershwin Room, which will host Melbourne’s The Teskey Brothers on Thursday night.

Espy St Kilda

The Espy’s grand stairway will offer access to rooms never seen by the public before — until Friday, that is.

He says the show sold out in eight hours.

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,” Maskiell says.

This article from the Herald Sun originally appeared as “The Espy’s slick new interior revealed ahead of opening”.