Melbourne's latest CBD pub looks set to tower over the competition. Opening after years of planning, the Garden State Hotel is a sprawling four-storey watering hole complete with public bar, beer garden, private dining room, subterranean saloon and New York-style grill.
Garden State is located at 101 Flinders Lane, inside a 130-year-old building that began its life as a saw mill before playing host to Rosati, one of Melbourne's top dining destinations in the '80s and '90s. Now, under the new ownership of Sand Hill Road Hospitality – the same team behind the Prahran, Bridge and Terminus Hotels – the space has been transformed once again.
In the centre of the building, punters will find a multi-level beer garden built around three large ficus trees. The space is served by a long bar, with a self-order kiosk that delivers snacks and toasted sandwiches in a flash. At the rear of the beer garden is the venue's main dining area, the appropriately named Garden Grill. There you'll feast on Modern Australian cuisine including an array of fresh seafood. Also on the ground level is the Garden State's public bar, featuring booth seating, bar tables and views onto bustling Flinders Lane.
Head downstairs and you'll end up face to face with the Rose Garden, an intimate saloon decorated with French crystal chandeliers, vintage vases and rose bouquets, with a cocktail menu overseen by ex-Eau de Vie barman Kevin Peters. The first floor, meanwhile, is home to the Balcony Dining Room, a private space for 18 people with its own bar and balcony. And on the second floor? The venue's premier function space, described as "a glamorous, light-filled space for up to 120 people."