St Kilda Coffee Palace

Repost 2019:

Coming up Jackson Street in the late afternoon, the #StKildaCoffeePalace in Grey Street often looks so impressive. And nicely worn, not overly restored, cos it isn’t. It’s one of the first ‘temperance hotels’, created in 1883 by extensively rebuilding something that had been built as an ‘assembly room’ in 1871. The rebuild was designed by #HendersonandSmart (who later joined with Joseph Reed). It had 37 rooms and a dining room ‘in Corinthian style’ (parts still visible), a billiard room and a ladies salon. The top floor was added in 188, hence the ‘broken pediment’ at first floor level. Apparently it also closed in 1888, so clearly couldn’t compete with the George Hotel virtually next door and much more prominent.

Like most of the coffee palaces it later became a #boardinghouse, which is now full of #backpackers.

2022 update : it emptied early in the pandemic, various renovations seeming to happen, recently a cafe has started off the foyer, and looks like reopening as backpackers (maybe).

10 July 2022:

Just discovered that the top floor of the St Kilda Coffee Palace was added in 1888 to the building, which had been converted by Henderson & Smart from a hall in 1883 – so the much talked about ‘baroque pediment’ was actually just broken to fit a window ! Second photo is from NGV c1886, when the George Hotel corner section (on the left) was built.

25 February 2023:

I’m a fan of green generally, but not this shade on this building ! I’ve lightened it up but it’s actually sort of a dark aqua. The St Kilda Coffee Palace was built as an assembly room (a hall for hire) in 1871, the converted by Reed & Barnes in 1883 into one of Melbourne’s first coffee palaces (a hotel with no alcohol). The top floor was added in 1888, but it seems to have closed that year, no doubt unable to compete with the huge George Hotel on the corner. It’s been a backpackers for ages, closed in the pandemic, now rebadged as a boutique hotel, but still really a backpackers. (Reaction on Instagram was very divided, many hated, some liked).

2 thoughts on “St Kilda Coffee Palace

  1. I saw The Lost City of Melbourne last night. I recognised you from Instagram and came searching for more info about Queen’s Walk Arcade and found your blog. Appreciate your passion for Melbourne’s architecture and thanks for sharing.


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