Your favourite corner pub, The Waterside Hotel, has had a little makeover. Hidden City Secrets had the privilege of attending their Welcome Back Party and we can confirm: she’s looking fabulous.
All the best bits of the vintage pub remain, including its old-school feel and friendly atmosphere, though some definite revamping has gone down. The new owners are Sand Hill Road, the group that brought us the likes of Garden State Hotel and The Espy. Without compromising the OG vibe of the Melbourne icon, they’ve successfully brought the iconic waterfront, 3 level pub up to speed.
On arrival, we were generously greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, an excellent first impression. The Public Bar on the lower level was bustling, with live music and a traditional Aussie bar at its centre. Here, friendly staff serve a range of American Craft Beers and quality meat cuts grilled by head chef Stuart Munro, formerly of QT, Cumulus and Merricote.
Sparkling wine in hand, we ventured upstairs to suss out what else was in store. This is where we discovered the very luxe Bubble House. Decked out with low-lit feature lights, lounges and dark interiors, the feel was moody and sophisticated. We liked. The bar in The Bubble House is all about champagne, wine and cocktails, with a list thoughtfully designed by Kevin Peters.
The degustation, however, in the centre of the room was what truly won our hearts. It was absolute #spreadgoals, with all the cheese (including a life-changing Brie), artisan bread and prosciutto our little hearts desired. There was also fantastic in-house catering featuring sliders, mac and cheese balls and smoked mozzarella kebab sticks. Basically, comfort food meets fine-dining.
To one side of the bar, we noticed a row of people giddily shaking and stirring up cocktails. A lesson in cocktail-making was going on and we wanted in. The friendly bartender taught us how to make a “Tommy Margarita”, a delicious mix of tequila, agave and lime juice. Education at its best.
As much as we wanted to slide onto a lounge and sip our margaritas, there were rumours of hot dogs and gin and tonic upstairs. We made our way up to The Deck, the third and easily most iconic level of the Waterside Hotel. We were greeted with cucumber-infused G&T’s, as well as food stands handing out gourmet hotdogs and Flinders Island lamb koftas. Tying in with the theme of The Bubble Room, the food was that perfect mix of pub comfort and decadence.
Even without these delightful freebies, The Deck would’ve had us sold. Insane views of the city skyline were complimented by the perfectly blue sky of the sunny arvo. The neighbouring brick wall is covered in artwork, including a graffiti-esque portrait of Sofia Loren. How very Melbourne. Vibes were in fine form, with everything from knock off drinks, dates and friendly catch-ups taking place around us.
The reimagined Waterside Hotel still has all of its old charm, only now with some new and improved metropolitan magnetism. With something for everyone, it’s truly the perfect spot for any occasion, from casual drinks to birthday celebrations or corporate events.
All images provided by Waterside Hotel.
FOR FUNCTION AND EVENT INFORMATION AT WATERSIDE HOTEL CLICK HERE
By Sinead Horne