Since as early as 1925, St Kilda’s Holy Trinity church hall has been a gathering place for the local community. With new pub and food-truck park Trinity, Matthew Nikakis is carrying on that legacy. The site may no longer have any religious affiliations but there’s something spiritual about stepping through its original arches, now restored to their former glory.
“I really wanted to bring out the beauty of the original building,” Nikakis tells Broadsheet. “We brought back the heritage and made it suitable for modern [times].”
With the help of BSPN Architecture, the century-old red-brick church hall is now split up into five distinct spaces. The star attraction is the main hall, which has been transformed into a surprisingly intimate, plant-filled bar. “It’s been a challenge to create a hall that’s a warm environment you want to stay in,” says Nikakis. “I couldn’t be prouder of it.”
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Chequerboard flooring, plush booths and copper finishings give it a contemporary edge, but the heritage windows and hardwood trusses remain firmly in place.
Also keeping the old-school vibe alive is the sitting room. Filled with an array of vintage furniture, it feels like your nanna’s fancy lounge room. Behind the bar, there’s a romantic, private mezzanine (with another bar) and interior windows looking out over the main hall.
The beer list champions local brewers across 12 taps. “It’s predominately Australian beers and a lot of Victorian ones,” says Nikakis. The wine and cocktail offering is similar in ethos, with drinks like the Shirazmataz, a combination of Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin, lemon and orange, and a Whisky Sour (fittingly) made with Gospel Solera Rye Whiskey.
Out front, amid dangling lights and group-friendly picnic tables, there’s a shiny 1965 Airstream Overlander that Nikakis has restored and fitted out for food service. It serves burgers, sliders and other fried snacks such as onion rings and mac’n’cheese bites (both of which reappear on the burger menu as toppings).
If that’s a little too loaded for you, Nikakis reckons the lobster and prawn roll is a highlight. Otherwise, choose from one of the other food trucks – they’ll rotate nightly, but woodfired pizza, Vietnamese street food and barbeque chicken are a few upcoming offerings.
And finally, around the back of the venue, you’ll find a maritime-inspired children’s play area complete with a vintage wooden ski boat, lifeguard chair and – coming soon – a cubby house made to look like a striped beach hut.
All are welcome here – it’s family- and pet-friendly, with room for 300.
Trinity St Kilda
2 Brighton Road, St Kilda