ARE YOU GAME?
Perth’s Three Pound Group has launched, arguably, the biggest pub in Australia. GM Tim McIernon reckons it’s as easy as having triplets.
Story: Christopher Holder
1 Roger Mackay Drive Burswood, WA
(08) 6314 1360 or www.thecamfieldbar.com.au
When The Camfield opportunity came Tim McIernon’s way it was just too good to pass up. One of the biggest pubs in Australia on a 7500sqm site less than 100m from the new Perth Stadium. The Three Pound Group (The Stables Bar, The Reveley) General Manager didn’t ‘um’ and ‘ah’ for long. He’d simply took a deep breath and went for it. Sure, this wasn’t just a huge undertaking for his hospitality group, it was a big undertaking by any measure. Capacity? 4000. Beer taps? 175. Microbrewery? Check.
Tim McIernon: “The Camfield is a large-scale project, there’s no doubt about it. The investment is a big one but it takes about as much time and effort for me to do a small bar as it does to do a 4000-capacity pub like this.
“I think of it as like having triplets — if you’re going to have one baby, you may as well have three! You’ve still got to do the same sort of work, but you get it all done with at once.”
HOLE IN ONE
The Camfield isn’t entirely a new build. The stadium development occupies the old Burswood golf course and The Camfield was once the clubhouse, pro shop and function centre next to the 18th green. The state government claimed back the crown land for the Perth Stadium development.
Tim McIernon: “We inherited four big buildings. We retained three; gutted them and fitted them out. We knocked over the main building and built a microbrewery and main large bar that holds 1500 people. Doing that rebuild helped us to relocate the main bar building towards the river and create a great beer garden — all the things we wanted.”
The beer garden is majestic. It accommodates some 1200 people. It includes a container bar (with space for 50+ patrons on its roof) and a massive 5 x 6m screen for game day and movie nights.
The Camfield offering is a bullseye for the Dockers and Eagles families on their way to and fro the 25 AFL games of the footy season. Casual, relaxed, with the food to match. There’s no separate restaurant area — the same menu applies to every seat in the house. Naturally, those 25 game days don’t account for all, or even the majority of the turnover, but they do set the template for The Camfield offering.
The Camfield’s wild card is the standalone function centre. It can hold up to 700 people and has been an instant hit.
When the pub is really rocking, witnessing The Camfield in action is something to behold.
On Melbourne Cup day, with the big screen on and people everywhere, Tim had 140 staff working on site — 140!
Tim McIernon: “Hospitality being what it is, you need 450 staff on your books to call on 140 for a big day. And, again, hospitality being what it is, that’s a lot of 18-20 year olds, each with their own challenges. So, yes, The Camfield has operational challenges. But really it’s just about repetition — Groundhog Day — do things well; having a huge night, then backing up and doing it all again. Cleaning, maintenance, restocking… the job is no different to a small bar, only you need to order more and you have more people doing the same job.”
Entertainment plays a key role in The Camfield offering. Whether it’s running a movie night on the big screen, a club night with local promoters, or a popular tribute band, the numbers are huge and the expectations high.
Tim McIernon: “We have a full stage setup — lighting and PA. Being a large venue we can afford to make the necessary investment in a large PA — the economics of hiring in a PA every week just don’t stack up. We can sell 1500 ticket into an event in the courtyard so it was an easy decision to make.”
20 x EV EVID-S 8.2TB 8-inch Wall Mount Speaker
18 x EV EVID-S 8.2TW 8-inch Wall Mount Speaker
22 x EV EVID C8.2LP 8-inch Two Way Coaxial Ceiling Speaker
7 x EV EKX-15S 15-inch Passive Subwoofer
2 x EV EKX-18S 18-inch Passive Subwoofer
4 x EV ZX1I-100 8-inch 2 Way Surface Mount Speaker
17 x EV ZX5-90PI 15-inch Two Way Full Range Speaker
5 x EV CPS 2.4-11 Power Amplifier 450W x 2ch
9 x EV CPS 2.9 Power Amplifier 900W x 2ch
4 x EV CPS 2.4-11 Power Amplifier 450W x 2ch
1 x EV CPS 4.5 Power Amplifier 500W x 4ch
1 x BOSCH PLE-1MA060 Plena Mixer Amplifier 60W
Bosch Communications (Electro-Voice): 1300 026 724 or
Audio Source (Supplier): (08) 9354 3185 or
Vision Cabling (Systems Integrator): (08) 9242 3233 or
Perth’s famous for its warm weather and all year round temperate climate. But that’s not to say it doesn’t get cool.
Tim McIernon: “I know it’s not the first thing you think of with a Perth venue, but outdoor heating is absolutely crucial for us. Perth people expect to be able to sit outdoors all year ‘round. And they’ll lose their minds if there’s a tiny bit of rain… even though it might be July and they’re in their T shirt and shorts! Without the Bromic outdoor heaters we’d stand to lose 800-900 seats in colder weather. Plus, with our function bookings being so solid we really have to ensure those events have heated terrace areas for those patrons. That trade is very important to us.
“It’s not an easy venue to keep heated, which is why we invested so heavily in the Bromic heaters all around the perimeters of the buildings. We also use drop-down blinds to help keep the weather out and the heat in when we need to. It’s got to be dry and warm in there. The Bromic heaters aren’t cheap but they’re worth their weight in gold.”
Bromic Heating: 1300 276 642 or www.bromic.com.au