The CBD's historic Waterside Hotel is in a new phase of its life in the hands of prominent pub group Sand Hill Road, who are behind the relaunches of Melbourne's Garden State, Prahran and Bridge hotels.
The Waterside Hotel has been reimagined by the new owners as a multifaceted drinking and dining destination that nods to the past. A considered array of antiques, art and furniture sourced from across Europe lend plenty of personality.
This place is huge and houses five separate spaces. The ground floor spaces is the Ale House, a sprawling public bar with a focus on crafty American beers. It sits alongside the Doghouse, a US-inspired dive bar slinging hot dogs, tinnies and bottled cocktails, and an old-world dining space dubbed the Chophouse. In the kitchen here, head chef Stuart Munro (ex-QT Melbourne and Cumulus Inc) delivers a tidy selection of seafood, vegetarian plates and quality meat cuts, including a 1.2-kilogram Rangers Valley tomahawk that feeds four.
One floor up, the Bubblehouse is a dedicated cocktail and Champagne lounge, with a drinks selection by Kevin Peters — a former Eau De Vie bar manager and the person responsible for that stellar cocktail lineup at Garden State Hotel.
The Waterside's crowning glory is a rooftop bar known simply as the Roof, boasting sprawling CBD views and serving a streamlined version of the menus offered below. This corner of the city is currently a little bereft of quality drinking dens, but the Waterside Hotel helps change that.
Images: Brook James.