In 2009, after six glorious, fabled years, Melbourne bade farewell to St. Jerome's, a Laneway bar in the CBD that had become something of an institution, and that spawned a music festival that nows span seven cities in three countries.
Now, two years later, Jerome Borazio and business partner Danny Rogers are returning with a new Melbourne venue, The Resurrection, in Lygon Street in East Brunswick, a few miles north of the original Laneway.
'The opening of the bar was just one of those things that had to happen,' Rogers says. 'Jerome fought tooth and nail to keep St Jerome's alive, but really, he always knew in his heart that with a month-to-month lease in an old Swedish Meatball house at the back of a corporate monster, he'd eventually get the knock on the door.'
'Watching Jerome fight some pretty ordinary humans to keep his favourite little bar open made me realise how lucky we were that St Jerome's ever opened in the first place.'
The building that housed St. Jerome's is now gone, so there was no chance of recreating the old bar. The Resurrection, Rogers says, will 'dip its lid to St Jerome's. It's not trying to be St Jerome's, but sure as hell will carry the spirit of that little hot bed of madness.'
The bar, he says, is something of a testament to his and Jerome's friendship, which now stretches almost two decades.
'Jerome and I have been partners for eight years and friends for coming up to nineteen. Our parents never really thought it was a good idea that we hang out together but we thought better and so did some of you. The Resurrection probably pays homage to a few things not least the bar but importantly, it's also part of the Resurrection of us, our friendship and a continuation of the journey that we've been on.
'It won't be dull and it sure as hell isn't overly thought out (or decked out). Like Laneway, it's a reflection of us and a fun project to work on together.'
The Resurrection will be a new beast. Gone are the stinky bins and chicken carcasses that gave St Jerome's its unique character; now that everyone's a bit older, stools will replace the milk crates.
The menu will be a little more expansive than St Jeromes', but punters can rest assured that cheese toasties will remain the centrepiece. The longnecks will return, along with the new 500ml cans of Melbourne and a mysterious new cocktail Jerome has invented that combines thyme and 'a secret white spirit only known to proper old school Danish royalty.'
'I can only say that this will change everyone's approach to late night drinking in Melbourne forever and ever', Jerome says.
The bar will have some familiar faces behind it, and music will still be a central part––the bar will have guest DJs playing the finest sounds from home and abroad. There'll be a deck out the back, but the views will be a little different.
Which is all to say the new bar won't be the same as St Jerome's, but it will be similar. All the best bits will live on in the new place. For anyone who's ever talked, laughed, kissed, fought, shagged, loved and cried with someone they met and hung out with at St Jerome's, we hope you will join us to carry on the spirit of the place.
Built 2003 Destroyed 2009 Resurrected 2011
135 Lygon Street East Brunswick