The future of St Kilda’s legendary The Esplanade Hotel is currently up in the air, with Australia’s longest-running venue with continuous live music being listed for sale.
The Espy has been listed via realtors Jones Lang LaSalle, with the current owner, listed as Elisa Sofo, looking to retain the freehold and offer a long-term lease to prospective buyers, although offers for the freehold will also be considered.
Gigs will continue as scheduled for the time being, although the future of The Espy will be entirely up to the new owners, with no guarantees that the venue’s rich tradition of live music will continue. The beloved Melbourne icon hosts over 50 bands and DJs on an average week, according to its website, with upcoming gigs including Grandmaster Flash, Newsted, Ash Grunwald and Dallas Frasca.
It also hosts the weekly music trivia TV show RocKwiz, as well as having a kitchen, bottle shop and three stages. The venue has a capacity of 1,752 patrons and a license until 3am, with the listing describing it as “one of Australia’s cultural centrepieces for live music, art, comedy and pub scenes”.
Cherry Bar venue operator James Young took to Facebook to say that the sale makes him very nervous, saying, “In my opinion, no venue in Australia puts on more local live music than The Espy in St Kilda.”
Expressions of interest in the iconic beachside venue are open until 20th March, unless sold prior.