I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published April 7th 2021
Oh, I do like to eat beside the seaside
Initially known as 'Parers Pavilion', the St Kilda Pier Kiosk was built in 1904, based on a design by James Charles Morell and operated by Francis Parer. Officially it was known by the much grander name The Austral Refreshment Rooms.
The St Kilda Pier Kiosk sits on the very end of the pier, overlooking the shoreline and bustling boat harbour. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Purchased by the Kerby family in 1938, it was renamed Kerby's Kiosk and remained in the family hands until 1987. The first European style pier mounted pavilion in Australia Kerby's was a bayside institution.
Owner Colin Kerby created a storm in 1951 when he sold over-proof homemade beer over the kiosk counter. At 7.4% alcohol compared with the approved 2%, Mr. Kerby's venture into the liquor trade ruffled a few official feathers.
The kiosk is an integral part of life in and around St Kilda. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The original Heritage Listed building was destroyed by fire on September 11th 2003 and Melbourne grieved for a place where generations of locals had celebrated family gatherings and where a walk along the pier on a summer's evening to buy an ice cream at the kiosk was the most Melburnian of things to do.
Fortunately, then Premier Steve Bracks was quick to undertake a rebuild of the historic structure under strict Heritage Victoria guidelines. A 3-year, $2.75 million refurbishment saw the classic Edwardian structure rebuilt using the original 1904 plans and included a new addition immediately behind the kiosk to increase capacity. This area is known as Little Blue and operates in tandem with the kiosk and offering an extended menu.
Guests at the St Kilda Pier Kiosk get superb views across the marina to the Melbourne city skyline. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Today, St Kilda Pier Kiosk and Little Blue offer affordable café style drinks, snacks and light meals in a family-friendly, historic setting. Sadly, the onset of COVID-19 has led to a downturn in trade which has resulted in reduced opening hours. Autumn and winter hours are:
Thursday & Friday 10 AM til late Saturday 9 AM til late
Sunday 9 AM til 7 PM
Last kitchen orders are taken 1 hour before closing time.
A Route 16 tram will get you from the city to The Esplanade, St Kilda - just a short walk from the pier and kiosk. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The unique seaside location, overlooking the boat harbour, offers great views of the seaward or the nearby city skyline. With its briny sea air and the character of a European style pier-mounted pavilion, the St Kilda Pier Kiosk is a wonderful meeting place for locals and visitors alike.
While You're There …
Check out the penguin rookery on the St Kilda breakwater, right next door to the kiosk or, if you're out and about on a Sunday, visit the St Kilda Esplanade Market between 10 AM and 5 PM.
Getting there .....
St Kilda Pier I just 8-kilometres from the Melbourne CBA, about a 25-minute drive via City Road, Ferrars Street and Canterbury Road or Yarra Trams Route 16 will drop you at The Esplanade, just a very short walk away.
St Kilda's Edwardian pier-mounted pavilion has been a Melbourne meeting place for more than a century. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media