The Social Creative are the new “custodians” of the Crown & Anchor Hotel and, in collaboration with Adelaide hospitality mavericks The Happy Motel, will open Superfish, a new venue in the next-door courtyard that was Crab Shack.
In a release announcing the multi-pronged move, The Social Creative, the crew behind Royal Croquet Club, Crab Shack and Little Miss Mexico, said they were “excited to announce that they are the new custodians of the Crown & Anchor Hotel, which now has a redefined license to include the old Crab Shack & Dive Shop sites”.
This redefinition of the venues, which have long operated under a cloud of proposed redevelopment, comes with the “support of landlord and property developer Gerry Karidis” and will see a series of changes to the East End site. The Social Creative has said they will “re-launch the Crown & Anchor with a vision to keep true to its roots with ‘Live Music’ still taking top billing along with a front bar that’s a good honest front bar with cold ales,” as well as reforming the Crab Shack premises into Superfish, and establishing a co-working space in Dive Shop and East End Studios.
Landing a Superfish
The first cab off the rank for public consumption is Superfish, formed in collaboration with The Happy Motel, known for their unique food and wine pop-up venues and festivals such as Here’s to Now. The new venue, described in the release as an “outdoor garden for eating, drinking and dancing into the night” will stay true to Happy Motel’s style.
“A taste of what’s to come”
The menu is expected to be “taking cues from the Asian influence of South America’s west coast whilst keeping it simple, affordable and mega fresh”. Plates will be dished out from two locations on either side of the venue. One will focus on ‘raw’ food (“aguachile, ceviche, sashimi and of course endless oysters, all served with fresh herbs, vegetables, salsas and exotic fruits”), while the other will sling ‘cooked’ dishes (“smoky slow cooked skewered meats and seafood, Chilean/Argentinian street food faves and a big focus on barbecued seasonal vegetables”).
Menu examples include:
– SA Kingfish Aguachile: burnt tomato, cucumber, dragon fruit, chilli, basil, coriander, tequila, soy & lime
– Asparagus Kerabu: grilled and raw asparagus, broad beans, red onion, soft boiled egg, avocado, chimmichurri, sesame seeds, fried onion
– Churrasco a la Pobre: chargrilled beef skirt, pebre, fried egg and chilli fries smashed into a white crusty roll
The menu will take inspiration from Asian and South American styles
When it comes to drinks, Superfish promises to provide a “short, smart local independent wine list full of our faves, smashable beers and tiki cocktails all night long”.
Carlo Jensen, a Happy Motel alumni responsible for much of the crew’s unique aesthetic, now working as Peculiar Familia on projects that have included Sunny’s Pizza and Pink Moon Saloon, is also collaborating on the venue’s art direction.
The release notes with tongue firmly in cheek that The Social Creative and The Happy Motel crew were once “cross town rivals” – a reference to the two groups’ sometimes competing festival offerings including the collaborative Lola’s Pergola and Royal Croquet Club – but says the two groups are keen to work together.
The Happy Motel’s Jordan Jeavons says the collaboration is borne of “like-minded experience”
The Adelaide Review asked The Happy Motel’s Jordan Jeavons about what inspired the collaboration. He says “mutual friends, like-minded experience and a gradual alignment of creative concepts” were the greatest motivators for jumping on board.
“We were presented with a great opportunity to collaborate and are genuinely excited about the new venture,” Jeavons said.
Dive Shop to Co-working Spot?
The next prong in The Social Creative’s trident will come in Dive Shop and East End Studios’ transformation into a “multifaceted, multipurpose, creative hub” under the banner 74 Frome Street. The property will reputedly be filled by “several different collaborators and independent producers” and is set to open in the New Year.
What about the Cranker?
Finally, on exactly what will happen to the Crown & Anchor under The Social Creative’s direction and whether it will retain its current character, details are sparse other than to say that the venue will still host live music, and that Superfish is “a taste of what’s to come”.
Speaking to The Adelaide Review, The Social Creative’s Stuart Duckworth says that “our biggest priority is to keep the charm of the Crown & Anchor whilst adding to the offering”. Noting that character is key, Duckworth says that the Crown & Anchor “undertaking a typical pub renovation” is “not on the cards”.
The Social Creative’s Stuart Duckworth (right) and Tom Weckert (left) (photo: courtesy CliqueMag)
Initially, the collective is “planning on getting a feel for the pub, working with the existing staff, regulars and favourites to work out the best way forward”.
“Physically, we will be joining the properties and developing a truly unique offering,” Duckworth tells us. “We have some amazing ideas, inspiration and plans, but we will always ensure the character and charm of the pub is left intact and even emphasised.”
This, Duckworth says, means that the Crown & Anchor will retain its popular band room, and the collective is keen to add even more performance to the hotel.
“If anything, we’ll be adding to the line-up with regular live music and a greater offering for the festival time, along with a delicious, interesting food offering.”
As for the Crown & Anchor’s upstairs bar, Favela, change does seem to be on the cards. Duckworth says that Favela will stay in place as it is, “but 2017 will see a brand new concept rolled out for the upstairs of the pub – something with a tasty offering.”