New management, $1.6m facelift announced for new Adelaide UniBar

The team behind the Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival will take over a relocated and refurbished Adelaide UniBar in a plan announced by the University of Adelaide today.

Following a public call for expressions of interest, University management have announced that a team led by publican, University alumni and former City of Adelaide council candidate Gareth Lewis will take over the UniBar in the new year. With the new management comes a $1.6 million refit, projected to launch in mid-2019 following the conclusion of the RCC Fringe program. The partnership with the festival hub will see several campus spaces transformed into performance venues throughout February and March.

When opened, the new UniBar will be relocated to the ground floor of Union House building adjacent to the Cloisters, making use of a space that has in past years been home to the Mayo Café and a series of other food and beverage operators.

“I spent many happy hours in the UniBar while studying at the Uni of Adelaide, and our team is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to play a role in delivering the next generation of the UniBar to students, staff and to the people of Adelaide,” Lewis says of the news.

“We see UniBar as the cornerstone of the cultural fabric of student life and vital to the live music scene in Adelaide. The new UniBar will value and celebrate the past, while evolving to bring an updated experience to students, including an outstanding line-up of music acts.”

Concept artwork for the redeveloped Union House precinct

Lewis and partners Aaron Sandow and Marc Huber have previously run King William St pub the Kings Head, Beer & BBQ Festival and the recently announced Day On The Cans event at Port Adelaide. In keeping with the South Australian focus of the group’s past ventures, 75% of drinks stocked will be South Australian with the remaining quarter dedicated to craft beers from around the country.

This latest development follows a period of uncertainty following confirmation that the current venue – run by the University of Adelaide Staff Club for a decade – would wind down earlier this month. News that the UniBar would vacate its long-term home in the upper floor of the Union House building provoked an outpouring of nostalgia from past and present students, along with the announcement of a from the Staff Club and Adelaide University Union to launch a joint – and evidently unsuccessful – tender to keep students at the heart of any new management.

Read more about the state of Adelaide’s live music venues here

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