Hospitality star Jason M Jones and his interior-designer partner Brahman Perera are transforming the old Rufus Bar into a glamorous, party-friendly, late-night champagne bar dubbed Gigi: Salon à Champagne.
The 40-seat spot is set to open in February 2024, tucked discreetly across the road from the couple’s flagship French brasserie, Entrecote, on Greville Street in Prahran.
“We are bringing back Greville Street one venue at a time,” Jones tells Broadsheet. “I actually had my 21st birthday in this space when it was the infamous Greville Bar, so it has great memories.”
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Like its sibling Entrecote, Gigi will be open seven nights a week, with high tea on the weekends, and will feature an elaborate fit-out designed by Perera in collaboration with Jones. Expect a riot of heavy silverware, fancy tassels and glittering chandeliers, with splashes of rust red and gold brocade.
Named after the 1958 film, the salon and its cigar-friendly outdoor terrace will take inspiration from Parisian hotspots such as the Hotel Costes and the Ritz, mixed with the goodtime vibes of Melbourne classics such as Siglo and Madame Brussels.
French champagne will, unsurprisingly, be the feature beverage, with 10 drops available by the coupe (single-glass pours), while food will be luxe bar snacks, including what Jones claims to be “the best chicken sandwiches in any bar in Melbourne”, plus caviar and sausage rolls. (We’ll be sure to put those chicken sandwiches under the microscope using these criteria when it opens.)
It’s a busy time for the pair, who are also opening Sri Lankan diner Hopper Joint in early 2024 on the same street. “We’re imagining ‘pres’ before dinner and ‘posts’ after dinner at Gigi,” says Jones.
Gigi: Salon à Champagne is due to open in February 2024 at 1/143 Greville Street, Prahran.