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The site now known as the Imperial Hotel has an unconventional and colourful history. Originally known as Nobel’s Circus in 1852, the building housed equestrian shows, promenade concerts and lively dances. It was renamed in 1856 Salle de Valentino becoming a permanent theatre site. In 1858 the Levi brothers re-modeled the ground floor into a retail site incorporating the building into a shopping strip.
It wasn’t until 1863 that the building became known as Richardson’s Imperial Hotel, and received only the third liquor licence ever to be granted in Melbourne. The Imperial remains one of Melbourne’s classic Aussie pubs and visitors today still walk through the original Australian red cedar doors dating back to 1858.