There's little doubt that Melbourne is the craft beer capital of Australia. Yet in beer, as in many other ways, it has been a tale of two cities. While bars and bottleshops north of the Yarra have eagerly embraced the craft beer revolution sweeping the land, it's been a very different picture to the south. Despite being home to one of Australia's beer bar trailblazers, The Local Taphouse, and a handful of top notch bottleshops, elsewhere in Melbourne's south it's been slim pickings.
Thankfully, the times they are a-changin'. Just as the Palace Hotel has given the people of South Melbourne a quality boozer with great beer, the Grosvenor Hotel is bringing choice to St Kilda East. The imposing building on a corner of Brighton Hotel was operating as an Italian fine dining restaurant until early 2013. Then a craft beer-loving manager took over and set about making some changes, not least to the tap selection, which at that point featured no less than seven different major brewery lagers.
Since then, a new owner – Rabih Yanni (formerly of The Point) – has come in and introduced further changes, including looking to boost its craft credentials even more, with a range of local microbreweries lining the taps and more craft beer in the fridges. The result now is a much more relaxed feel throughout with a menu that's more suited to the pub environment, featuring a range of traditional wood-fired pizzas, burgers, sharing plates, pub classics and dry-aged steaks. The charcuterie platters are well worth checking out too, as evidenced by the impressive deli-style bench and the sides of beef ageing inside a glass cabinet by the main entrance.
The venue itself is one of many parts. There's a bistro at the city end open seven days a week for lunch and dinner for a la carte dining, plus a cocktail bar with a suitably late night feel to it. At the other end, you'll find the more casual bar areas, divided by a wall of oak barrels, and an outdoor terrace. Add to that a rather funky upstairs exclusive event space, live music five days a week plus Bingo on Mondays and Trivia on Wednesdays, an adjoining bottleshop that's been turned into a drive-thru grocery / deli and it's quite the package.