The site at 188 Grenfell Street is usually quiet this time of year – packed down for the colder months before the next summer pop-up. But after securing a permanent license its latest incarnation Roxie’s is settling in for the winter. And that’s meant a few changes to the breezy outdoor site.
“We’ve weather proofed it,” manager Jordan Jeavons tells Broadsheet. “The whole back area is completely covered over. We built two giant open fires and put in a whole lot of heating and roofing while still maintaining the feeling that we’re outside.”
It's a helluva lot cosier. The food has changed with the season, too. Flatbreads, charred octopus and saganaki have made way for “more approachable” pub grub – burgers and classic-Italian pizzas fired in the wood oven. Its “wintery comfort food vibes,” says Jeavons. “We wanted [Roxie’s] to be the beer garden for the Cranker and Chateau [Apollo]. It’s somewhere people can grab a quick bite to eat before going to shows next door. We want people to be able to spend their night on the property, across all venues. Part of that is making an approachable menu for a crew that want to have something quick and easy and yummy before a gig.”
The new-look Roxie’s isn’t the only major change. Stuart Duckworth, who, with Tom Skipper, took over the lease of the Crown and Anchor and neighbouring properties in 2016, has moved on from the group to focus on producing festivals. He’ll continue at Royal Croquet Club under its new directors.
Meanwhile Jack Fenby has joined the Crown and Anchor crew to push the block – the “beast in the east” as he calls it – into a new era. He wants to position the four-venue site as a “cultural hotspot”. When news broke of the Crown and Anchor’s new management two years ago, “A lot of people thought that was it – see you later Cranker,” says Fenby. “They thought we were going to get rid of the band room. They thought it was going to be demolished for apartments.”
He and Jeavons are acutely aware of the value of culture and community. For them, pubs and bars aren’t just watering holes. “There’s live music at the Cranker five nights a week and if it doesn’t have live music it’s got comedy,” says Jeavons. A regular comedy night will begin next month on Tuesdays. Two doors down Chateau Apollo has launched a residency with slam poetry collective Draw Your Swords. Next door Roxie’s has started hosting Cuban dance classes. “I’m also trying to get salsa dancing,” says Fenby. “People who like art exhibitions, people who want to see live music, people who want to see bands they’ve never heard of, that’s who we want to bring in.”
This weekend the team will co-host roving music festival A Day of Clarity. The free block party, founded by Clarity Records, will spread across the East End with stages inside Chateau Apollo, the Crown and Anchor and Midnight Spaghetti. Punk stalwarts Frenzal Rhomb and Gareth Liddiard’s new project Tropical Fuck Storm will head a packed bill featuring The Hard Aches, High Tension, Mere Women, Hightime, Sleep Talk, Young Offenders and more.
“Across the venues we have a capacity for 900 people and I imagine we’ll get that many people in there,” says Jeavons. “There’s a really loyal following to that festival. Clarity [Records] is one of those things that’s just honestly and genuinely contributing to the Adelaide music scene … and the festival is an extension of that. It’s nice to provide a platform to make that happen.”
A Day of Clarity is on Saturday June 23 from 2pm to 12am at Chateau Apollo, Crown and Anchor, Midnight Spaghetti, The Exeter and Union Street.