Commune Group takes over Ilona Staller space in Balaclava

Balaclava bar-restaurant Ilona Staller has closed after a decade.
Balaclava bar-restaurant Ilona Staller has closed after a decade. Photo: Eddie Jim

When Balaclava favourite Ilona Staller called stumps at the end of lockdown, locals feared for its handsome Carlisle Street premises.

It's good news, then, that the serial southside restaurateurs of the Commune Group (Firebird, Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina) have taken on the lease.

There's no concept or opening date as yet but creative director Simon Blacher is excited about the possibilities. "We're stoked to be expanding our venues," he says. "Our plan is to be a Carlisle Street institution and be around for the long run."

Named after an Italian porn star-turned-politician, Ilona Staller opened in December 2010, spinning off from St Kilda long-player Cicciolina.