St Kilda church hall site reborn as bar and food truck park Trinity

The hall's original features including hardwood ceiling trusses and arched doors have been preserved.
The hall's original features including hardwood ceiling trusses and arched doors have been preserved. Photo: Nicole Cleary

St Kilda has a new drawcard in Trinity, a mostly outdoor bar and food truck park built in and around a 1925 red-brick church hall that opens on Sunday.

Out front, a vintage silver Airstream caravan has been converted to a burger truck. Two rotating food vans will park on site to add to the food offering. Inside the hall, the 12 taps include Carlton Draught tank beer, unpasteurised and delivered in chilled tankers straight to the venue.

The triangular site where Chapel Street joins Brighton Road was previously occupied by edible garden company the Little Veggie Patch Co, and the heritage hall has housed everything from Greek school to ballet to Zumba classes.

Owner Matt Nikakis outside the 1925 red-brick church hall he has converted into a venue.
Owner Matt Nikakis outside the 1925 red-brick church hall he has converted into a venue. Photo: Supplied

A careful renovation makes the most of period features such as hardwood ceiling trusses and arched doors, and the raised stage is now a mezzanine for private functions with views to the bluestone church at rear. Out the back, a family area has a sandpit and wooden ski-boat for kids to clamber on.

Owner Matt Nikakis also owns suburban pokies pubs the Racecourse Hotel in Malvern East and Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie. But Trinity is solely a food and beverage operation. "I wanted something more targeted at families, dog-friendly and kid-friendly," he says of the 300-capacity St Kilda venue. "We want to blend into the community."

Trinity was conceived before COVID but the outdoor focus is certainly a bonus, and architects BSPN worked on the CBD's COVIDSafe Outdoor Activation. "You get a lot of outdoor pop-ups but this is built for the long term," says Nikakis. "I have a 50-year lease with the church, and sails mean it's good in all weather."

With easy access via city and Richmond trams, Nikakis sees Trinity as a neighbourhood place that will also draw from further afield. "This is a destination venue, something St Kilda has been crying out for," he says.

Open Sun-Wed noon-11pm, Thu-Sat to 1am.

2 Brighton Road (corner Chapel Street), St Kilda, trinitystkilda.com