Sitting upon the hill as you drive up the hill to the Sorrento main street, is the Continental Hotel. A large sandstone building that was built in 1875 by the George Coppin. It is said to be the only 4 storey sandstone building in the Southern Hemisphere.
George Coppin was the man who built the Continental Hotel, the Athenum Theatre, introduced the railway or tram track and is said to have developed much of the town. He was an enigmatic character, who was not only an entrepreneur, but an actor and a parliamentarian. His building of the Atheneum in the city of Melbourne, which later became the Princess Theatre plus his other theatre creations which have been a staple part of Melbourne theatrical life mean that his legacy has lived on, yet I am unsure of how well known he is for his work. You may also encounter him if you take the Sorrento Ghost Tour that guides you through the town and tells the story of George Coppin and the Continental Hotel, where it is said he can still be heard.
It is now one of the vibrant centrepieces of Sorrento life. The first thing you might note when you enter the bar is the wall are covered with art. Paintings of all descriptions and all creatively wonderful.
With all this art on the walls, you'd think there might be a reason for it being there. There is. The Continental Hotel is home to a well known art competition, which is now in its 12th year, with the entry fee being $30. Last years winner was Lisa Vergio with the Beaded Bag, which features on this year's competition poster.
The objective of the art prize is to bring art into a space that introduces it to people who may not normally visit a gallery. It is an endeavour to blend food, music and art in one place.
The Continental Hotel, now has a blend of bar and alfresco dining, with art adorning much of the wall space. There is a laidback backpackers, nightclub and the dining which all make up this eclectic hotels current existence. The food is good, the atmosphere relaxed and at the same time stimulating.
Tuesday nights are Tuscan Tuesdays and Thursdays are Steak nights with $14.90 being the cost of a delicious steak meal.
The Continental sits on the hill. It is part of Sorrento's history and its character can only be seen as part of the spirit of Coppin.
I think this is one of the top spots in Sorrento. The atmosphere is the best thing about it - it's always busy! Great spot for a drink after checking out the cute shops in Sorrento Village.
By Karola Clark - senior reviewer Friday, 22nd of July @ 12:48 am
What a fascinating history – I have been past this building several times, but will be sure to drop in the next time I visit Sorrento. Love the sound of the steak special and the art, both of which I will have to check out as well. Thanks for the inside info – very cool article.