The Hunter Valley’s wackiest, coolest venue set to open in the historic Hotel Denman
Owner of Qirkz and Camelot in Marrickville, Sydney, Hallis’ venues have hosted countless Australian and international musicians of exceptional calibre. Noticing a distinct lack of similar venues in the Hunter Valley, the art collector, musician and venue manager, took it upon himself to establish a sibling venue in Abermain, in the historic Hotel Denman.
‘What inspires me as an individual to do what I do, is bringing art and colour and music and culture to people that may not have access to such things and here in the Hunter this is an incredible opportunity.’
While the bones and structure of the 110-year old heritage building have retained their charm, significant renovations are underway to ensure it is ready to open at the end of 2022. The restorative process is no easy feat, but Yaron is a man on a mission, describing the site as his ‘perfect blank canvas to bring in all the crazy Qirkz paraphernalia, art and collections to create something truly unique in the area.
There’s something for everyone at Yaron’s reinvigorated Hotel Denman, with coffee and artisan gelato on offer from early in the morning through to the afternoon—perfect for those after school runs. The space will also encompass a bar and bistro, separate from the music room and stage, so that gig audiences and regular patrons alike, are catered for. Locally made wines, and other foods and goods will also be available for purchase.
Yaron tells me that we can expect ‘the Camelot mix, which is a mix of well-loved bands from around Australia as well as really good tribute acts. I think all those Bowie shows and Beatles shows and Doors shows are going to go down really well here, with the addition of local acts I haven’t even got my finger on the pulse of yet!’
If the music, food and atmosphere aren’t enough of a draw card already, the display of Yaron’s personal art collections are sure to be.
He is utterly passionate about art from around the world and at Qirkz in the Hunter, he hopes to adorn every nook and cranny with mid-century ceramics, pieces from his vast collection of Indonesian art, and other weird and whacky décor he’s amassed over the years. Amongst the quirky collection are a life-sized Elvis, The Blue Brothers and Marilyn Monroe.
‘I love the complete ridiculous incongruity of this like… museum of Indonesian art being in the middle of Abermain. I mean it’s just so… it’s so ridiculous! But that’s what I love about it, it’s just a burst of colour. The vibrancy and colour is what this whole thing’s about.’
He enthusiastically shows me through the venue-to-be, explaining that, wherever possible, he’s committed to repurposing things and using materials he can find on Marketplace or access secondhand. The side of the bar is made from recycled hardwood and the carpet he’s acquired—which he describes as giving the space a ‘retro RSL vibe’ that he loves ‘for all the wrong reasons’—formerly belonged to a childcare centre.
If he can get his hands on stained glass to replace every door and window, his creative vision will be complete. Everything Yaron describes feels perfectly aligned with the colourful, eccentric atmospheres his venues are so renowned for.
There is a lot of work to be done, but Yaron is realistic about the ongoing upkeep that old buildings require, and there is no doubt that his makeover of Hotel Denman will see the venue reimagined as a world-class venue for both musicians and patrons to enjoy. ‘It has to happen so it will happen!’ he says with confidence and excitement.
If you would like to assist with the restoration of Hotel Denman, please visit.