If you emerge from the Espy with all your wits about you, money in your wallet and a shirt that isn’t at least half soaked in Carlton Draught, you’ll need to go back and try again. You weren’t doing it right. This towering St Kilda beachside legend is a pub, a restaurant, a bottle-o and one of best live music venues in the city. Everyone from Boom Crash Opera to Johnny Farnham has graced the stage of the ornate Gershwin room (which is also the set of TV quiz show RocKwiz, incidentally) while those still gunning for their big break play in the smaller basement bar downstairs. A middle room bridges the gap between the unknowns and the well-known. It’s sticky, loud, and boasts the most bounce happy bouncers in the land ( that’s a no to your tracksuit pants and steel toed boots, in case you were wondering) and that’s why we love it. The crowd is a melting pot of music junkies, crusty locals, and errant dolly-birds who have strayed from the Acland Street drag, all enthusiastically downing beers and Bacardi and Cokes, or pouring them over their oblivious neighbours. With trivia, daily specials and an uninterrupted flow of gigs (a lot of which are free) there’s not a night of the week when the taps aren’t taking a pounding. The Espy’s been helping Melbourne rock out for over 100 years, and we pray this mighty beast will never say die.