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Hotel Ghosts: Chris Womersley at the Espy

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Immerse yourself in the bohemian underworld of Melbourne’s artistic and cultural past, and share a drink with some colourful ghosts with impeccable taste.

As part of Open House Melbourne Weekend, spend Sunday afternoon in the Ghost of Alfred Felton Bar at Hotel Esplanade as author Chris Womersley discusses his latest novel, The Diplomat (the sequel to his beloved Cairo) with host Brian Nankervis. The Diplomat follows Edward Degraves – fresh from detox and five years after his involvement with the theft of Picasso’s The Weeping Woman from the NGV – returning to Melbourne where he is forced to confront his ghosts at a seedy St Kilda hotel. It’s a powerful story of grief, art and recovery.

Following this discussion, owner of The Espy Matt Mullins will lead an interactive tour of the bar’s three rooms – the Library, the Pharmacy and the Gallery – and its namesake Alfred Felton’s life. Felton was the game-changing benefactor of the NGV whose bequest transformed the gallery’s collection, and a long-time inhabitant of The Espy in its former incarnation as a residential hotel.

Throughout the event the bar will serve Felton-inspired cocktails.

Join us for this interactive celebration of literature, art and Melbourne’s rich and eclectic cultural history.

Images: (1) Hotel Esplanade internal stairs. (2–3) The Ghost of Alfred Felton, Hotel Esplanade. (4) Exterior Hotel Esplanade. All photos courtesy Hotel Esplanade.

Important Details

Time & Date

Sunday 31 July
Author conversation and building tour of The Espy.
Bookings required
$15 general admission, $30 with cocktail on arrival.


Fully wheelchair accessible
Accessible bathroom


The Ghost of Alfred Felton bar at Hotel Esplanade, 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda 3182


Presented in partnership with the Wheeler Centre, supported by the Hotel Esplanade.

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