A bank, a pub, a nightclub and a Thai restaurant. These are just a few of the lives the iconic Saint building has lived since it opened in St Kilda in 1915. But for the past three years, it’s been empty, leaving a conspicuous hole on Fitzroy Street.
Now, after a top-to-bottom makeover led by Cheltenham-based building company Field Group and architects Telha Clarke, it’s returned as the Saint Hotel.
“A group of friends decided that it was such a beautiful venue, they might buy it to do something with it,” says general manager Mrinal Beekarry. “The initial plan was to do something very casual and just a really light renovation.”
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But the brief shifted as more parties, including Beekarry and executive chef Gary Lai (both ex-The Atlantic), joined James and Jimmy Field, the father-son duo behind Field Group.
“We collectively decided that we were going to spend a little bit more money on the renovation [to make it] quite modern, quite premium,” Beekarry says.
Featuring five distinct spaces in one, the new Saint is designed to be a destination venue, whatever the occasion.
The focal point is Saint Dining, a protein-driven restaurant located on the ground floor. It’s dark and moody, filled with leather banquettes and touches of marble and bronze. The kitchen is designed around a Josper grill, which kisses nearly everything on the menu, from Fremantle octopus skewers, to five varieties of steak, to burnt cedarwood ice-cream with slow-roasted apple tartine. Even kingfish crudo (which is Italian for “raw”) is treated with a touch of heat then finished with tomato consommé, dandelion green oil and sea herbs.
Cocktails are a celebration of Australian natives with strawberry gum, peach tea and pepperberry-infused highballs and Negroni spin-offs made with Davidson’s plum liqueur and umeshu.
Adjacent to the restaurant is Saint Bar, a more casual operation that Beekarry describes as a “wine bar meets gastropub”. Choose from over 200 bottles, paired with chargrilled burgers and prawn cutlet katsu sandos.
Upstairs is Bar 54, loosely inspired by the infamous New York nightclub Studio 54. To one end is a light-filled atrium filled with mustard-yellow booths and to the other, a sunny terrace with large windows that’ll open up when the weather warms. Find minimal-intervention wines by the bottle, spritzes on tap and a snack-centric menu of chilled seafood, cheese and charcuterie.
While the Saint Hotel is officially open, the remaining two spaces are a way off. Rounding out the ground floor is The Vault, a wine cellar and bottle shop honouring the venue’s history as a bank. And on the first floor is Stellas, a cocktail and listening bar led by bar manager Roy Das Neves (ex-Bouvardia). The space will be fitted with custom-built Pit & Giblin speakers (the Australian company behind Waxflower’s setup) with DJs on rotation every Thursday and Friday.
54 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
(03) 8652 7554
Daily 12pm–3pm & 6pm–11pm
Thu to Sun 6pm–late
|We’re taking over Saint Dining for a one-off dinner on April 12. Join our membership program, Access, to come along.|