Posts Categorized: Drinks

The new venues shaping St Kilda

You’ve probably noticed that everything hip that is happening is in Fitzroy, Collingwood or the CBD. And perhaps Northcote or Yarraville. People are also doing things in St Kilda and somebody has to tell the story. St Hotel Imagine what the illegitimate love child of the Royal Saxon and The Prahran Hotel would look like. It would probably be very much like the St Hotel, the reimagined Saint nightclub in St Kilda, which is almost finished and may open very soon. Last week 700 or so local riffraff, venue owners, girls, boys, girls who are boys, girls looking for boys (and daddies) packed in for the opening of the new multi level venue; on the ground floor a Chin Chin leaning Asian restaurant and bar; a club and private members lounge upstairs. The look is concrete, dark steel window frames and raw ply. At least I think the look is raw plywood panels. It may just be that part isn’t finished yet. The central atrium hangs over the restaurant and provides a glassed in balcony for clubbers and VIPs. Upstairs there’s a nifty machine with lockers where you can recharge your phone after a long night on the town. As soon as it’s open properly I’ll report back on the food. Dog’s Bar The good news is that the food has improved and the booze is cheap. The bad news is that the room is still badly in need of a good clean-up. The pasta portions are huge and cost under $20. They are tasty and filling – I could barely finish my bowl – but nothing worth crossing town for. The new manager, Lachlan Sleeman who was last seen in Melbourne running the London in Port Melbourne, has put Estrella on tap and red, white and pink Dal Zotto wines from the King Valley. At under $30 for the equivalent of a bottle, you can’t argue with that. The usual local personalities and colourful characters are back. But in attracting the new upmarket generation of St Kilda locals the Dog’s Bar now has competition. The Nelson What was once Slow Down at Harley Court, and prior to that the local favourite cafe Spuntino, is now The Nelson an exciting new arrival to St Kilda. What the new owners have done is taken a dark dungeon of a room, which was always awkward, and turned it into a light airy… Read more »

Croce via di Stasio – the beautiful bar next door


It’s 4.38am. My mouth is dry. My head is sore and I have hangover insomnia (as I call it). Last night I dropped in for a quick bowl of pasta at the new Bar di Stasio. And that’s where I went wrong. There has never been any such thing as a quick bowl of pasta at Cafe di Stasio nor will there ever be such as thing at Bar di Stasio, which last week celebrated its 25th year. I know that about half of you out there are gong to disagree with me here as di Stasio is the kind of place that polarizes people. Even before I’d met (and I should declare been watered) by Ronnie di Stasio or Mallory Wall (pictured at the bar above) I was a big fan of the restaurant. And for me it just gets better by the visit. It’s starts off with the set lunch which I remember as far back as $15 for two courses and a glass of wine. It’s now $35 but you will never get out of there without a mugging by the charm of restaurant’s old school Italian waiters complete in their white jackets, black bowties and, sometimes, dyed black hair. It’s insidious. Perhaps it starts with a glass on impeccably presented Campari ($13). An Aperol Spritz ($15). Or maybe a prosecco ($11). Kerching! Watch out for the bottled water. And that second glass of wine. The caffè corretto (espresso with a shot of grappa) is mandatory. $35 is now $75. And I’ve started drinking so I have to finish off as much as I can from the bar. In possible the most aesthetically designed bar I’ve ever been too – a collaboration between Ronnie, architects and artists – and it happened again. And since I started writing this post it has happened again and again. And again. I sat at the monolithic marble bar imported in two slabs (from Sicily as is the original bar next door) and sealed together in a near invisible paper thin seam. Behind me over the entrance is a fire engine red Callum Mortan sculpture appearing to give structural integrity to the single fronted space. The pale rendered walls are finished to a polish with no addition of paint. It’s just expensive detail in a solid brick and plaster wall. It makes for quality and solidity. It gives you the feeling that… Read more »