Sprawling new bar and restaurant The Guardsman will open in the Adelaide Railway Station later this year.
The $6 million project of Skycity Adelaide (the company that owns the Adelaide Casino) will breathe new life into the former Overland Dining Hall, a long-vacant site below the Casino’s main room, accessible via the train station concourse. The once opulent venue opened in 1928; in the past decade it has been used as a storage area.
“It’s such a massive, forgotten venue,” says Rosie King, PR and communications manager at Skycity Adelaide. “It’s quite incredible. There are a lot of bandaids on this building … we uncovered a room we didn’t know about the other day, because it was literally covered by a plaster wall. [The builders] were like, ‘That’s hollow’. It’s a beautiful old room, completely empty.”
When Broadsheet visits, the former dining room is a blank canvas (save for heritage window and wall detailing, which will stay). The original jarrah floorboards have been pulled away temporarily (for underfloor service works) but will be re-installed, and the heritage ceiling will be repaired. Cast iron radiator heaters from the venue’s heyday will be repurposed as a nod to the past.
Come November, the 900-square-metre site will comprise an open kitchen, central bar, dining area, private room and back gaming room, as well as a front bar – previously Jasper’s Cafe – and a shopfront facing out to the train station concourse, which will serve takeaway coffee and grab-and-go food.
“Inside, we don’t expect that’s going to be packed at seven in the morning, but this coffee window will be absolutely pumping,” says King.
Skycity has tapped architect firm Studio-Gram (Osteria Oggi, Joybird) for the redesign, which will pay homage to the room’s rich heritage with a stone-topped bar, timber panelling and brass detailing.
“1930s – that was a big part of the brief, looking at the history of the space and bringing it back,” says Rosie. “Instead of taking the venue and turning it into something modern. There’s so much history in the space; that was key – to be respectful of the period. You won’t be able to tell what’s original and what’s new.”
Local construction firm Shape is on the build; Tristan Kerr of Uppercase Studio is on brand identity and signage.
The Guardsman is one of several new tenants about to open in the long-stagnant railway station as part of a plan by Renewal SA to revive the precinct (keep an eye on Broadsheet for more details). The $6 million investment by Skycity is in addition to a $330 million Casino expansion, which will include a 12-storey luxury hotel and restoration of the existing building, scheduled for completion at the end of 2020.