In Changing Times by Clyde Mooney

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Entertainment Venues Australia is bucking the trend, reopening the heritage-listed Royal Terrace Hotel in Kent Town in time for Adelaide’s festival season.

The landmark pub – previously known as the Royal Hotel Kent Town – occupies a major corner on bustling Dequetteville Terrace (A21), on the corner of arterial North Terrace. It closed late 2016, the previous owners citing serious reduction in trade during construction of the O’Bahn extension.

Q4 of 2018 Entertainment Venues Australia (EVA) negotiated with the freeholder and executed a three-month renovation, restoring its historic interiors and redressing the façade in a striking white.

The pub boasts a large beer garden, in which EVA has installed a large LED screen to aide its new emphasis on sport. The new menu will be based in Australian pub classics, but with a modern twist by chef Leith Hames.

Even the name has seen a refurb, the ‘Terrace’ added to give some modernity to its well-known moniker.

The Royal Terrace is another rescue for EVA, which secured the Glenelg Pier Hotel from administrators, as well as its Grenfell St eatery, Propaganda Club. EVA also operates the Anchorage Hotel in Victor Harbor, and the Lady Bay Hotel.

Freeholder of the Royal Terrace is Flagship, which is currently building the Kodo apartments and Penny Place tower.

EVA stands to benefit from the development going on in and around Kent Town, hoping the fresh, modern look will renew interest in the historic hotel, which thrived during the 90s.

The past year has brought about the closure and/or insolvency of a high number of leaseholds in the city, brought on by a changing environment including increasing numbers of small bars and declining gaming revenue.

Adelaide’s CBD has lost the Office, the Stag (again), Jack Ruby, the Colonel Light (again) and the Ambassadors, and iconic venues including the Semaphore and the Archer in the suburbs. Outside Adelaide, hard times have overcome the Lucindale, the Kincraig, the Woodside, the Tintinara and the Traveller’s Rest.

Ferrier Hodgson recently issued advice to the hotel sector, specifically noting Adelaide’s struggle with lessees paying unsustainable rents in the wake of falling or shifting trade.

South Australian director David Kidman suggests incremental increases are in question, and that landlords may need to revise terms and rents with a view to facilitating long-term operations, or consider alternate best use of properties.

Royal Terrace Hotel, 2018. Image: Google