Turning The Corner

The Corner Hotel:

(03) 9427 9198 or info@cornerhotel.com

A cigarette, beer and a band still go hand in hand for many punters at the Corner Hotel — a bastion of live rock’n’roll in Melbourne. Rather than bucking the institution, the Corner, with the help of architects, Six Degrees, transformed its rooftop into a smart dining area and beer garden: smokers won’t miss a beat. The initial impetus behind looking upstairs was the ability to serve more meals in a larger dining area, with pre-empting the July 1st smoking laws firmly in the back of the mind. The band room has been non-smoking since the upstairs completion in December 2005. An attitude change was important. Being a smoker himself, music coordinator, Ben Thompson, thought there would be problems quelling the notion of smoking while watching a band, but amazingly  there’s not been a single complaint. The upstairs area is having a dual effect of opening up a whole new demographic of non-music patrons; and sparking a resurgence of 40-plus punters coming out of the woodwork, filling out blues and jazz shows in the smoke-free band room. And a full dining crowd upstairs now often complements capacity shows of 800 downstairs.The Corner owners approached Six Degrees after working with them on the Phoenix Bar. it was important for the deck design to not alienate the rusted-on clientele with something incongruous. But it needed to be a pleasant dining area that would attract its own clientele. The resulting space has won the hearts of the Richmond summer drinking crowd and year-round punters alike. The open plan zone features the heavy use of recycled items, making it feel diverse and eclectic. Far from looking like some Johnny-come-lately add-on, the outdoor area feels like it’s always been there… much like the Corner itself really. And Winter months won’t freeze the, ahem… butts off the furtive smoker, with heating installed under the ’30s-style railway awnings to warm the parts a cigarette can’t reach.

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