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Convention Centre's Regattas has run its race

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The management of the Government-owned Adelaide Convention Centre has decided not to reopen its waterfront Regattas Restaurant, citing “difficult trading conditions”.

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The restaurant – which underwent a major refurbishment just two years ago – has been shuttered since March, when coronavirus restrictions prompted Adelaide Venue Management Corporation to effectively stand down most of its 850 casual staff across the Centre, along with the Entertainment Centre and Coopers Stadium.

CEO Anthony Kirchner this week told staff in an email update that the corporation has now “chosen to close Regattas Restaurant indefinitely”.

“The decision to do so has been driven by difficult trading conditions, but also the success of the Gilbert Suite which sits above Regattas,” he wrote.

“The Gilbert Suite [formerly the Panorama Suite] has become one of the most popular meeting spaces in Adelaide, and we will be providing another meeting and function space within what was Regattas.”

The Convention Centre’s website describes Regattas Bar & Kitchen as boasting a “diverse, casual menu [that] offers something to suit any mood… complemented by unparalleled views of the Adelaide Riverbank”.

It currently advises prospective customers it is “temporarily closed to the public until further notice” but “we look forward to welcoming you back soon”.

Regattas boasts a Torrens view, including Adelaide Oval. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Kirchner told InDaily via email: “We’ve chosen not to re-open Regattas and [to] use the space as an additional meeting and function facility instead to complement the Adelaide Convention Centre’s offerings.”

He noted that the Convention Centre-operated Home Ground bar “immediately adjacent to what was Regattas” remained open and “continues to offer a popular, flexible and much more scalable hospitality offering on the Riverbank promenade”.

He said Home Ground allows the Centre to “increase capacity subject to demand”.

While Regattas can seat around 100 people, “Home Ground can seat approximately 280, which can be serviced from three different service points”.

“We can open or close the outlets as needed based on patronage levels [plus] Home Ground is able to accommodate an additional 1000-plus in cocktail style [for] those that wish to enjoy a drink prior to major events at the Adelaide Convention Centre [or] Adelaide Oval,” he said.

Regattas underwent a major refurbishment in 2018, closing down for the entire winter to do so.

At the time, AVMC told InDaily the closure had been originally intended as short-term for a “kitchen upgrade”, however “after the interior work commenced, we decided to tackle it all at once as the kitchen upgrade required much more work than was originally anticipated”.

AVMC’s operations have been among the hardest hit by the combined impact of public gathering and travel restrictions under COVID-19.

In June, Kirchner told staff: “We’re in reasonable shape to get out the other side [of the coronavirus pandemic] without being a burden on the taxpayer which, if achieved, will be quite extraordinary… however, it will come at the considerable cost to many of our Event Staff, which is not lost on the AVM Board or me.”

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