The hall at Moana Chambers is open for business – again. Once home to Moana Coffee, this historic venue in the city reopened last month as Moana Hall, a multi-function cafe, bar and events space. The venue’s managing director Cheyne Buczek says the response to the project has been nothing but positive.
“It’s overwhelming to hear that everyone thinks it looks beautiful and to see the excitement about this much-needed redevelopment,” says Buczek. “It’s reaffirmed that we have made an impact within the gorgeous heritage that remains in the city and reinvigorated an incredible space.”
Architects from Rezen Studios and Cusp Design Studio were tasked with highlighting the venue’s history while making it accessible to the public. The space has more than a touch of The Great Gatsby to it. The building’s floor-to-ceiling arched windows and original cornices and floorboards are now complemented by blue velvet booths, sleek lighting and 1920s-style rattan chairs.
Accessible via the building’s original grand staircase, the 100-person venue features a long south-west-facing balcony and a custom-built 10-metre-long iron bar. The design also acknowledges the origins of moana (the word means “ocean” in Polynesian): oceanic blue tones feature throughout, and detailed Japanese tiling creates a tactile, woven appearance for the bar while custom lighting evokes rippling water behind it.
“The response has been wonderful so far,” says Buczek. “We’ve had a lot of the old Moana Coffee customers return and say that they love that they can now enjoy a glass of wine or cold beverage on the balcony or in the overhauled dining room.”
The coffee is from Margaret River Roasting Co, the snacks come from Ox Rabbit and the beers and lo-fi wines are all local. While Moana Hall can be hired for private events, Buczek wants Moana to host public pop-up bar nights at least once a week. Local artist exhibitions and swing dance nights with live bands are also on the agenda.