It was an incredibly sad day when iconic St Kilda venue Stokehouse burned down in 2014. Now, after a two and a half year hiatus, it's finally back, renovated and designated into a 'precinct' of multiple bars and restaurants, set to dominate that seaside like only Stokehouse can.
First fish and chip kiosk Paper Fish opened as the first stage of the new precinct, with casual beachside bar and eatery Pontoon the next to follow on the ground floor. This chic new 400-capacity beach-inspired establishment preceded the opening of the highly anticipated relaunch of Stokehouse Restaurant, which launched in December.
But unlike Stokehouse upstairs, the Pontoon menu is casual and over the counter (think of the kind of food you can eat while standing with a drink in the other hand), and puts their four-metre grill to good use. Expect a lot of seafood, wood-fired pizzas, and noms like the wood-roasted beef brisket toastie. The epic 18-metre-long bar will house a strong wine list, 18 beer taps and of course, cocktails. They're also be serving up globally trending anomaly 'frosé', because how could they not.
Peppered with the furniture and trimmings of local Melbourne designers, the interior has been designed by George Livissianis (the design dynamo behind recent Sydney renos of The Dolphin Hotel, The Apollo and Cho Cho San). It has a casual layout and a mixture of warm, natural materials (think wood, leather and cane) offset by concrete and brick. "Looking out onto St Kilda beach was a great starting point in considering colours and materials that would compliment the concrete and blackened timber building," said Livissianis.
Images: Kristoffer Paulsen.