Adelaide’s Crown & Sceptre had seen the likes of Hilltop Hoods, Pnau, and Thievery Corporation grace their stage over the years, but after shutting down amidst growing debt it may reopen its doors to a whole different world of entertainment.
A proudly poker-free music venue, the Crown & Sceptre had earned accolades in the 2011 Annual Bar Awards for Hotel of the Year and a runner-up the previous year for Australia’s best pub, and embraced many genres of music including the growing Adelaide hip-hop scene.
The pub went into receivership in July this year with estimated debts of more than $1 million, facing financial woes over a sharp drop in trade, the higher costs of labour, bills, liquor licensing and input costs; with liquidators Macks Advisory handling the receivership.
And it hasn’t taken them long to find a suitable new owner, with the Tropeano Hospitality Group, owner of Hindley St nightclub Red Square and string club The Palace, swooping in for an undisclosed sum.
According to The Advertiser, director of the hospitality group Antony Tropeano has confirmed the sale but wouldn’t go into specifics due to conditions in the contact, although it is believed the purchase price for the pub is unlikely to be enough to pay off the debt owed to secured creditors, suppliers, bands, and of course the Australian Tax Office.
The strip club operators have been branching out recently into new ventures such a fine-dining restaurant, and have plans to spend $1 million on a makeover of the Crown & Sceptre before roepening before Christmas under the name The Curious Squire.
The live music scene has been feeling considerable pressure nation-wide as of late, but none more-so than Adelaide, whose music culture has undergone a state of flux with a number of changes introduced by the South Australian Government in the last month or so.
Following the recent introduction of hefty new liquor licensing fees, with new tariffs for late night venues; affecting the business and culture of many Adelaide-based clubs and venues, Premier Jay Weatherill then played the white knight and announced plans to introduce a music expert to work in collaboration with the Premier’s office to develop strategies of overcoming newly introduced planning and licensing issues, the very same policing strategies he helped implement.
Glastonbury booker Martin Elbourne was eventually chosen as the ‘thinker in residence’ and will be investigating licensing issues, opportunities for local performers and musicians and focussing on industry development, he first plans to speak to the managers of the live music venues located within the CBD in order to generate a report and plan to the SA Government.
Alcohol-related violence is a chief concern for Premier Weatherill and the South Australian Government, who last week announced the introduction of a new code of practice for licensed venues that will ban shots, glassware and introduce scanning IDs, a move that’s part of broader measures to curb increased violence along with more police enforcement and education program targeting the consequences of aggressive behaviour when drunk.
But the issue isn’t isolated just to South Australia, alcohol-related violence has now become a political platform for pokie-lined pub venues and politicians alike, with the New South Wales Premier keen to reintroduce either a 1am or 2am lock out in the CBD.
The move comes amongst other measures to crack down on licensed venues in New South Wales, such as a ban on glass and the sale of RTDs and shots after midnight. Also part of the new restrictions, on Friday and Saturday nights venues will not be able to sell alcohol in the hour before closing.