Adelaide comedy institution Rhino Room has found a new home in the CBD. The comedy and music venue will move into level one at 131 Pirie Street, above The Organik Store and Café and The BlueBee Room.
The derelict top level has been empty since the closure of Soda Room – one of Walter Ventura’s earliest ventures – back in the mid-2000s with occasional activations from Fringe pop-up Tuxedo Cat.
Forming a mini arts precinct in Adelaide’s “midtown”, the new digs sits alongside Raj House on Hyde Street, which houses the newly established, year-round Feast Festival hub.
The Frome Street building that currently houses Rhino Room and its adjoining venues The Howling Owl and Urban Cow Studio is slated for demolition in May, to make way for a 36-storey apartment complex.
“I can’t halt my sadness about seeing the building itself get knocked down … but as far as the businesses go, I’m feeling very positive,” says owner and operator Mick Krieg. “It’s a little sad having them all separate from each other, but it makes them stand up on their own two feet. They don’t have to ride off each other anymore.”
Krieg is keeping mum on the new location for gin bar The Howling Owl and art gallery and retail space Urban Cow Studio, but Broadsheet can reveal the two venues will move into a two-storey building in the east end, near the Exeter Hotel. The new-era Howling Owl will introduce a food menu consisting of tapas and small plates.
A crowd-funding campaign will launch this Friday to help fund a performance space for the new Rhino Room – going towards staging, lighting, sound equipment and a green room.
Krieg says the new space will capture the familiar vibe of Rhino Room that regulars have come to love. “It’s still got a bit of that grungy feel to it that Rhino has always had, and the layout is quite similar as well. It’s a larger version of what we’ve got upstairs [currently].” The signature rhino mural sprawled across the current premises will migrate to the new venue with a fresh painting by the original artist Mike Maka.
Rhino Room, The Howling Owl and Urban Cow Studio will relaunch in May 2017.