The Esplanade Hotel is currently closed (2017).
For over 100 years the Esplanade Hotel has been Melbourne's (and indeed Australia's) premier live music venue. Since the early days of string performances in the late 1800s the Espy's hallowed stages have been graced by the finest performers from around Australia and the world.
Everyone from local legends like Paul Kelly and Dallas Crane to The Kills & Hot Hot Heat, Jet to John Farnham have performed at The Espy. International metal heavyweights Ed Guy and Deeds of Flesh and hip hop's finest such as DJ Cash Money, Steinski and Peanut Butter Wolf. Oz up and comers Wolfmother and Airbourne have also graced our stages.
And its not just live music, comedians like Dave Hughes, Rove and more cut their teeth at the Espy.
Truly a physical landmark in St Kilda, and a cultural icon to Australia, the Espy continues this long standing tradition of live music, on an average week the pub plays host to over 50 bands across 3 stages 7 days a week and alot of it free.
Future 2017 >
Historic pub sold, set for overhaul
MARCH 14 2017 | Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago - TheAge
Live music is set to return to a remodelled Espy, following the sale of the St Kilda icon. One of Melbourne’s most famous live-music venues, The Esplanade Hotel, has been sold and will receive a major facelift after it was closed almost two years ago and slipped into disrepair.
The St Kilda landmark was purchased by prominent hotel owner Sand Hill Road, which owns a large portfolio of inner-city pubs including Richmond’s Terminus Hotel, Prahran Hotel, and Garden State Hotel in the CBD.
The deal is expected to be finalised this week, but Sand Hill Road co-founder Andy Mullins declined to make any comment when contacted by Fairfax Media on Tuesday . Current owner Vince Sofo did not respond to calls.
A hospitality source said the new owners were committed to retaining the integrity of the 139-year-old venue, including maintaining its role as a live-music bastion, while also preparing a major overhaul of the premises.
But plans by the former owners for a 145-square-metre rooftop terrace are expected to be scuppered, after raising the ire of residents concerned about late-night noise.
It is understood a large beer garden will be built near the entrance of ‘‘ The Espy’’ , which has hosted famous foreigners including Mark Twain and Sarah Bernhardt , but has also provided a launch pad for hundreds of local musicians. Thousands of other Melburnians have found romance, high jinks, and often a hangover in the hotel’s down-at-heel public bar.
Listed with the National Trust in 1990, the St Kilda icon has undergone several ownership changes and at least two significant revamps during the past century.
In 1995, the pub was purchased by Carlton & United Breweries, before it was offloaded two years later to Becton Group, which proposed a contentious 35-storey tower behind the venue.
Becton misjudged the fierce parochialism of residents, and Melbourne music lovers, who waged a successful battle to save the historic pub and significantly scale back the apartment development.
The pub has been owned by former nightclub operators Paul Adamo and Vince Sofo since 2006, who attempted to sell the venue in early 2014, but did not receive a suitable offer.
It was suddenly closed in May 2015 and has remained shuttered since, although it is understood that some internal construction work has taken place.
The pub, which has a 3am liquor licence and patron capacity of up to 1752, is periodically hired as a venue for the SBS TV show RocKwiz.
Sand Hill Road was founded by Doug Maskiell, Tom Birch and brothers Andy and Matt Mullins more than 20 years ago.