A beloved Aussie live music spot which helped give artists like Wolfmother, Sarah Blasko, Darren Hanlon, and Jack Ladder their start, could see a resurrection thanks to a new owner who’s put live music at the top of his agenda.
The Hopetoun Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills has earned itself a place in local music history not only as a much-loved haunt for the likes of Paul Kelly and others, but as the first in a string of venue closures that took place in Sydney at the turn of the decade.
However, as The Brag reports, the Hopetoun Hotel appears to have been purchased by a new owner who plans to reopen the venue for live music. The outlet reports that the new owner is Adrian Bull of Blind Records, who confirmed the purchase via Facebook.
The venue was constructed between 1836 and 1839 and shuttered doors in 2009. In 2012, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage came out in support of conserving the storied pub. However, reports suggest interior renovations are needed.
In a 2009 report from the Sydney Morning Herald, former co-owner Evangelos Patakas blamed prohibitive fines from local police and council’s demands for upgrades to the venue, including the installation of sprinklers and wheelchair-accessible toilets, for the venue’s closure.
However, a council spokesperson claimed there were no directives placed on the venue. The Herald suggested a combination of police fines, which at one point soared to $3,000 in one week, a dip in ticket sales, and the removal of pokies machines proved the downfall of the venue.
Sarah Blasko was one of several musicians who expressed disappointment in the closure of the venue and Hoodoo Gurus frontman Dave Faulkner cited the closure of the Hopetoun Hotel as the first domino to fall in a speech delivered during an April Keep Sydney Open rally.
“Rapid gentrification has been a huge problem for places of entertainment. The Hopetoun Hotel in Surry Hills is a classic example of this. They were hounded out of existence by a hostile council and the complaints of recently-arrived residents,” said Faulkner, via The Music.
The sale and apparent revitalisation of the dormant pub and music venue comes at a time when many have given up on Sydney’s late-night scene as a result of the lockout laws. However, it should be noted parts of Surry Hills are located in the lockout districts.
Photo: Wolfmother @ The Hopetoun Hotel in 2004 / Justin Edwards