March 29, 2023

Melbourne’s famous live music venue, the Hotel Esplanade, or as it is much more commonly known ‘The Espy’, is for sale, but it’s not for a song.

The famous seaside hotel located in the south-eastern suburb of St Kilda has a $70 million price tag, which would make it the most expensive pub sold in Victorian history.

For the eye-watering sum, a buyer will get 12 bars on four levels, two restaurants, beer gardens and two live music venues with a large slice of rock ‘n’ roll history.

Famous Melbourne pub and concert venue, Hotel Esplanade, better known as the Espy, is for sale

The spa hotel has beer gardens, two restaurants and 12 bars serving on four floors

The Gershwin Room served as the studio for the SBS music trivia program RocKwiz, which ran from 2005 to 2016.

Host Julia Zemiro once worked as a waitress at Espy, and Brian Nankervis fronted the live band for the 177 episodes, which featured a wide variety of stars both local and international.

Some of the acts that have graced, or perhaps in the best rock’n’roll tradition put to shame, Espy include Beasts of Bourbon, Things of Stone and Wood, Yothu Yindi, Men at Work, Hoodoo Gurus, Boom Crash Opera, Tim Finn, the Galvatrons and Tex Perkins.

Paul Kelly recorded an album Live at the Continental and the Esplanade at the hotel in 1995, and Scott Marsh painted the singer/songwriter as a giant mural on a back wall of the hotel in 2019.

The hotel fell on hard times in 2015, but the current owners have extensively renovated all its rooms

The hotel was built as a luxury resort in 1878.

By 2015, it had run into difficulties and was suddenly closed aboard, with the building being gutted and only the Gershwin Room opening for occasional concerts.

It was acquired by Melbourne-based hospitality group Sand Hill Road in 2017 and they have extensively refurbished every room in the property.

“It’s the most extraordinary old hotel in the world in my opinion,” Sand Hill Road spokesman Matt Mullins told Nine news.

Host Julia Zemiro, who worked at Espy as a waitress, fronts one of the 177 episodes of SBS music trivia show RocKwiz that was filmed at Espy

Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly has recorded an album at Espy and has had a mural painted on a back wall

‘We have loved every second, if you are lucky enough to own Espy it is just such a privilege.

The ‘Espy’ deserves to hold every record, this place is the holy grail of any pub in Australia.

‘At the end of the day, this place is owned by the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who have made it their home for so many years and will do so over the next 100 years.’

The Espy has hosted a who’s who of Australian and overseas rock royalty at its two live music venues

The $70 million will buy the building with the hotel’s operations managed by the US-backed Australian Venue Co, which employs 150 staff and pays rent of $3.1 million a year.

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Previously, the highest price paid for a Victorian pub was $43 million for Melbourne CBD venue Tomasetti House in 2021.

Espy can accommodate 1700 players at any one time in its various sections.