High-end food and drink hub Ella coming to Melbourne Central

Bartender Luke Whearty and Worksmith owner Michael Bascetta are opening venues at Melbourne Central's Ella precinct.
Bartender Luke Whearty and Worksmith owner Michael Bascetta are opening venues at Melbourne Central's Ella precinct. Photo: Eamon Gallagher

Shopping centre, office and public transport hub Melbourne Central is about to get interesting. Plans are afoot to create a 185-square-metre boutique food, drink and retail hub, Ella, which developers hope will emulate the high-quality offerings of stations in cities like Tokyo.

For the ambitious project, the GPT Group has recruited Michael Bascetta and Roscoe Power, the founders of Worksmith, a Collingwood co-working space for hospitality professionals.

Bascetta is charged with finding 12 tenants for the project and the calibre is high.

Charlie Carrington, of South Yarra's hatted Atlas, will open a branch of his Middle Eastern canteen Colours by Atlas on March 28.

Bartender Luke Whearty​, founder of Singapore's award-winning Operation Dagger (on the World's 50 Best Bars list), has confirmed he will open Byrdi, his first Australian cocktail bar with a provenance focus, in June.

Punters can also expect boutique retail stores as part of the offering.

Worksmith, meanwhile, will be opening a second branch, taking the top floor of the space. As well as offering office space as per Collingwood, they are building a high-tech drinks lab where beverage director Orlando Marzo (ex-Lume) will provide training to bartenders, and tenants can access specialist equipment for product development.

The first sites are due to open March 28. 

Corner of Elizabeth and La Trobe streets, Melbourne.