As part of developer Lorenzo Grollo's promise to revitalise that notoriously sketchy stretch of King Street, a former strip club has been reincarnated as a sprawling live music venue, now dubbed Geddes Lane Ballroom.
First announced back in September and opening properly to the public this week, the revamped 170-year-old bluestone building makes just enough reference to its past. Downstairs, it's all heavy timber, chandeliers and red carpet, with a couple of the building's old stripper poles still intact in front of the public bar. The lofty space above has been transformed into a 400-capacity band room, complete with its own bar, rows of booths and a stage that hasn't changed too much since its past life.
The music lineup is in excellent hands, helmed by Ben Thompson and Ashlea O'Loughlin — the duo behind such hit live music venues as 170 Russell, the Corner Hotel and the East Brunswick Club. A swag of shows are already in the diary and selling fast, including two performances by indie pop rockers Augie March in late November, and a Melbourne Music Week Live Music Safari featuring Krakatau and Fabulous Diamonds.
Back downstairs, renowned Vue De Monde chef-owner Shannon Bennett is heading up the food side of things, which includes classic Vue snacks like hot pretzels, Asian fried peanuts and BBQ spiced popcorn, and his own Benny Burger food truck slinging buns in the front entrance laneway. Stay tuned also for special custom vending machines imported from Japan — as a quirky touch, they'll be serving made-to-order 'fast food' options.
To match, there's a hefty lineup of beers, both on tap and in the fridge, a tight, largely Aussie wine selection, and bottled cocktails by Vue's Lui Bar.