photo by Michael Woods via Broadsheet

photo by Michael Woods via Broadsheet


2019: Phew! It’s looking like happy days are here again for our grand old dame of the Esplanade. The extensive re-renovation of the previous part renovations have been ambitious and laborious and the results are pretty spectacular. Judging by the people lining up around the corner since it re-opened in November 2018 - it’s got the thumbs up of the pub going punters. Congratulations Sand Hill Road and Techne Architects - she’s looking grand!

Last Night at the Espy | photo: David Brand

Last Night at the Espy | photo: David Brand

The unrelenting grind of gentrification is a threat to live music venues all over Melbourne and gems like the Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda - aka the Espy - are particularly endangered. The Espy, legendary music incubator and much loved drinking hole, has been the subject of heated tussles between developers, council and locals for decades and there's no reason to think this won't continue. The hotel closed in May 2015 with an announcement for extensive renovations (SMH 4/5/15) but almost nothing happened in the following 2 years except a vague - and unfounded - claim that locals were holding up the planning permit process. So, what's going on?



As you've heard by now, the Espy was sold by Vince Sofo + Paul Adamo in March 2017 and purchased by the Sand Hill Road hospitality group. SHR are currently in the throes of re-renovating the part renovations started by the previous owners and plan to re-open the grand old dame in October 2018. They've made all the right noises about the importance of the Espy as a live music venue and seem to understand what they've bought. Could they be the right custodians to take the Espy into the future? Fingers crossed.

St Kilda and Melbourne have really missed The Espy. We’re excited to bring it back. It’s a massive responsibility.”

”Mr Mullins said he and his Sand Hill Road business partners — his brother Matt, Doug Maskiell, Tom Birch and Andrew Larke — had “grown up at The Espy” and were researching the landmark’s history to ensure they do it justice.
— 21 April 2017

Read more about Sand Hill Road and the Espy in THE AGE and on REALESTATE.COM.AU

Find out more about SAND HILL ROAD



05 May 2015 | Closed for Renovations

Announcement that the Espy would be closing down from 17 May and back "shortly" after extensive renovations.
Read Sydney Morning Herald article HERE
Read Herald Sun article

17 Feb 2014 | Espy for Sale

The Herald Sun reports that the Espy is on the market for a speculated $5 million plus. The Australian says it is only the pub business for sale, not the freehold title of the Espy building & site.
Read Sydney Morning Herald report HERE
Read Music Feeds report HERE
Read The Australian report HERE

The  Previous Epic Battle

The most recent major stoush in the early 2000s saw local community group, the Esplanade Alliance - of which we were members -  do battle with the Becton Corporation. Detailed & extensive archives of the epic 7 year campaign are kept by the St Kilda Historical Society. For a potted history of the Espy and the campaign have a look  HERE.

For a more comprehensive account, check out Krystyna Kynst's wonderful new book "The Espy Campaign 1997 – 2003". It's available for free - you heard me - FREE on The St Kilda Historical Society‘s website and on iTunes.