It’s safe to say it’s been a long, weird break from live music this year. But in the case of iconic Gold Coast pub and live music venue Wallaby Hotel in Mudgeeraba, it’s also been an exciting one.
On Friday 30 October, the Wallaby’s doors were thrown open to the public for the first time since the end of July, following a mammoth, three month, $2million+ renovation.
We chatted to the Wallaby Hotel’s General Manager Mark Westaway ahead of the re-opening.
Mark is jumping out of his skin when we catch up, dying to spill the beans.
“We’ve literally got a whole new bistro, public bar, and a massive kid’s area,” he enthuses.
But it’s the new live music setup that’s got everyone seriously pumped.
“The part that really excites me is the new stage and PA system. I stood at the stage the other day – it’s all set up now – and it genuinely gave me goosebumps,” he recalls.
Wallaby Hotel has been synonymous with live music for as long as anyone can remember, and prides itself on its constant support for local live acts. Even during COVID, when it was unable to hire musicians to perform, the team pulled together over 1200 free ‘Meals for Musos’.
“They were the ones that were hit hardest, and first,” explains Mark. “The first thing that venues stopped was live music. It was always our vision to be the one to ‘turn that back on’ as such, and we’ve got some cracking stuff coming up.”
That cracking stuff included the first weekend back with a ‘locals launch’ featuring five-piece Gold Coast covers band and previous Friday night regulars Revolution. After Ego from Brisbane took on the Saturday night.
Tonight will see the official grand opening kick off, with Gold Coast-based band Reverse bringing the Friday night vibes, local tribute group Made in Australia getting the party started on Saturday and Gold Coast duo The Brick heading up the Sunday sesh. And that’s not all.
“We’re also gonna focus on our Thursday night blues nights,” says Mark. “Our weekends will get back to supporting our cover bands, Sundays will be duos / solos, and we’re really trying to cover all genres of music and support whoever we can.”
And that’s before getting to the touring acts. With a potential for 450-500 pax in the new public bar (350 currently with COVID restrictions), the Wallaby is bound to attract some stellar national acts, and undoubtedly an international presence when globe hopping becomes more accessible.
Legendary Aussie rockers The Angels have already been announced as a major headliner in June of 2021, with Sarah McLeod and Diesel shows planned for earlier in the year. There’s also a whopper of a legendary double headliner on the cards for 2021, but we aren’t allowed to reveal the acts JUST yet, so watch this space.
The reality is the Wallaby is the heart of Mudgeeraba and it’s the heart and soul of local live music. Let’s use it and get back to supporting the musos of the Gold Coast.
In addition to turning the live music tap back on, the Wallaby has worked hard to reposition itself as a family venue, with a huge fun kids’ area (named Graceland after Mark’s daughter Grace), and a brand new family-friendly bistro menu. Mark says they’re not reinventing the wheel with the food, though.
“We’ve really looked at doing pub food, but done bloody well. We’ve got a cracking steak menu, we’ve got an awesome schnitty and parmy menu, and your pub classics, your shepherd’s pies, cob loaves.
“We had a very clear idea about it being great value, great pub food. With our entrée and side menu we’ve gone down the road of having shared dishes so if you just wanna sit on the back deck of a Sunday afternoon with mates, they’re there for you.”
Mark’s excitement about the re-opening is infectious, and I’m now desperately curious about the look of the new place, and keen to check it out. Mark assures me they’ve stayed true to the Wallaby’s important historical themes.
“With the pub being what it is and the significance it has to Gold Coast and the local area – and the music scene – we spent a good seven months planning the renovation carefully, as it was really important to get this renovation right across all the aspects we looked at.
“We haven’t made it modern – we’ve kept so true to what the Wallaby is, so other than the white on the ceilings, everything is heritage coloured, that’s why it took so long for us to get it right, because it was back and forth, back and forth.”
Mark says the team is so excited to be back open to the public.
“We’ve just been pumped watching the transformation. The reality is the Wallaby is the heart of Mudgeeraba and it’s the heart and soul of local live music. Let’s use it and get back to supporting the musos of the Gold Coast.”
Head to the newly renovated Wallaby Hotel 7 days a week. Come gawk at the new look, grab some cold ones with friends, listen to some live music and check out tasty new bistro menu. Kids welcome. Visit wallabyhotel.com.au for more.