With the doors now well and truly open at new Melbourne venue The Reverence Hotel a year and a bit after the doors closed at The Arthouse, we sent Wil Wagner along to the venue for a few cold ones and a chat with the people behind the new venue, which hopefully you Melbourne folk have had a chance to check out. If not, never fear, there are plenty of great shows planned in the coming months and it won’t be long before you find yourself there. Expand this post to check out what Wil found out on his visit. You can keep up to date with the venue’s goings on [Here].
The Reverence Hotel has hosted its first few weeks of shows to much acclaim, excitement and shitfacedness. The feeling from the moment you walk in the doors to stumbling out of them many hours later is one of respect and love, cultivated not only by its now rather famous owners but by the punters themselves. You get the impression you are walking into something permanent, real and bigger than the sum of its parts. I was lucky enough to sit down with owners Matt and Mel Bodiam and bookers / bar tenders / guys who are always at the pub Atom Simpson and Lee Hartney to learn not only about The Reverence itself but about the people who brought us The Arthouse, who are now establishing something that already feels just as special.
I arrive and Matt’s halfway up a ladder drilling something and it’s a good hour of ‘preparation’ (me drinking beers) before he’s convinced to down tools and talk shit. I ask the table about the Arthouse and what they are taking away from that experience to bring to the new pub. Mel and Matt explain;
“The arty did flourish because a lot of people claimed it was theirs and looked after it. And luckily it was people that we liked.”
The experience of running such a successful venue for so long would leave most big headed, but Matt and Mel seem somewhat eager to pass off the congratulations and stress the fact that they were doing something they loved because they loved it, without a real sense of commercial gain and with the help of so many people.
“The Arthouse is something we are all really proud of and I don’t think anyone here would want to keep the arty stuff down. But we’ve all moved on and its been a year and a bit. We think we’ve got a better place here where we can offer more.”
And from the looks of things, they can. The Reverence boasts two sizeable band rooms, a pretty stunning front bar, a proper commercial kitchen and a cosy little beer garden all immensely improved from when I first came here about a month ago.
“We find here that we’ve got the rad space, we just need the rad people and the feeling we had at the Arty and there has been different people in here every day helping out.”
After spending over a year trying to find a new venue it’s no surprise that everyone is more than happy to work their collective arses off to make the Reverence the best it could be. I asked what it took to actually obtain a building.
“You dedicate a lot of time to it, but don’t get much in return… Its like buying a house and winning the auction, then you sign something and the next day there’s a problem and it goes away… at one stage we were out the back cleaning the kitchen and I was elbow deep in the mankiest deep fryer you’ve ever seen and my phone rang and it’s the agent telling me its fallen through and I’m standing there covered in shit going you are fucking kidding me. I’ve spent 2 weeks cleaning this guy’s kitchen so it’s good enough for me. And then the next day its back on! It was horrendous, but at the same time it was definitely worth the mental torment.”
The fact that anyone wants to put themselves through something like that just so we can all get drunk and have a few sing songs really shows how selfless these people are and it’s reflected in the space they have created.
The first few weeks of shows went off without a hitch and everything seemed to run incredibly well. After having a sneak peek at the upcoming shows every weekend seems to bring something bigger and better to the pub and with that hopefully more and more new faces. There is a real feeling of excitement about the place and being in an area that has all the potential to become the next Fitzroy / Newtown the Reverence will become somewhere not only for locals to meet but somewhere that is inundated with people from all over coming to see music, eat food and, most importantly, get absolutely maggoted. Seeing Jack the dog flop down by the door on the Sunday night to see everyone off filled me with not only nostalgia but a real sense that we all have a home again.
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The Reverence is located at 28 Napier Street, Footscray, a block from Footscray station. There are buses and a nightrider stop out the front. They serve Coopers, Guinness, Fat Yak, Pure Blonde, Carlton Draught and Bulmers on tap. It is open midday – 1am. They are currently serving corn base pizzas, but soon will have a full Mexican menu available.
For more info, upcoming shows and an awesome video of a dog please visit facebook.com/reverencehotel
To enquire about shows please email Adam and Lee at [email protected]