Taking the Long View
Townsville’s Seaview Hotel enjoyed an 18-month-long $8m reno. Entertainment is king.
Text:/ Christopher Holder
Covid has been diabolical for the hospitality sector. But for those pubs and hospitality groups with strong balance sheets it has given them time to redevelop in ways that might otherwise be monstrously disruptive. Seems like the un-said mantra of the pandemic for many is: ‘what’s a little more inconvenience?’
The Seaview Hotel in Townsville is arguably the jewel in the crown of the Irvin Hotel Group, run by Joe Irvin. He seized the opportunity to do some major work on the Seaview Hotel, setting the pub up for the foreseeable future. The work lasted some 18 months, finishing up last year just prior to Melbourne Cup Day.
The redevelopment looked to maximise the hotel’s position and reputation.
As the name suggests, the hotel enjoys amazing coastal vistas. That said, the Seaview Hotel is also in an affluent residential area, which was important — the hotel was determined to be a good neighbour. Live music is also part of the hotel’s DNA, and increasingly televised sports entertainment is a big deal.
According to the pub’s General Manager, Jason Schell, the missing link for some time has been the audio.
“Even before the renovations, we’d invested a lot into entertainment. We had 40 or more televisions throughout the pub — the outdoor LED screen was a $80,000 outlay all by itself. And we love live music. But the Cowboy’s game is going to bring a lot more money in than a live band. How do we do both? The missing link has been the audio.
“Now I have four audio zones in the beer garden alone. On a Friday night I can keep the Cowboy’s fans happy and have live music. I can pipe music from the outdoor stage through the venue if I like. The new audio system and control has just glued our entertainment offering together really nicely — it’s the finesse that brings my big screen TVs together as well. So I’m pretty happy with my audio… actually, scratch that, I’m extremely happy with my audio.”
AUDIO TO THE FORE
NQAV took care of the AV installation, project managed by Darryl Byrne. NQAV had an existing relationship with the pub group and were involved from the planning stage, which helped the pub to get the best possible result.
The key requirements were: flexible audio zoning and control, keeping sound within the venue (and keeping neighbours happy), IP rating to resist the worst of the sea air, great sound quality, and good aesthetics.
The heroes of the install are the outdoor-rated Tannoy AMS series surfacemount loudspeakers — based on a 6.5- or eight-inch driver. They are strategically dotted around the 1000sqm beer garden. Indoors, Tannoy dual-concentric in-ceiling speakers do much of the heavy lifting. Lab.gruppen C series constant voltage amplifiers provide the power.“The key was to have more speakers and reduce their overall output,” explains NQAV’s Darryl Byrne. “That way we get an improved, more even coverage and no sound complaints.
“Australis [the Australian distributor of Tannoy] modelled and mapped the space for us, which gave us and the client confidence in the design.”
The main band stage naturally has a beefier performance system based on a pair of flown Turbosound Athens TCS122/96 full-range enclosures, teamed with a Turbosound TCS218BR double 18-inch subwoofer. The PA is powered by Lab.gruppen C Series amplifiers.
the Cowboy's game is going to bring a lot more money in than a live band. How do we do both? The missing link has been the audio
Each individual audio zone has its own seven-inch AMX Modero touch panel for control of level and source. A master touch panel in the office provides global control. “We made it as easy as possible for the venue to operate,” says Darryl Byrne. “The AMX control system turns audio on by itself, at predetermined levels for each input source. It’s super easy for staff to change between live music, Nightlife and to change the screen content.”
The screen content is all modulated to the displays. It includes some digital signage for in-house marketing and Covid messaging. “We use Brightsign for the digital signage. We’ve found it’s the easiest platform for our clients to use and update the content.”
A couple of channels of Shure SLX wireless microphones round out the system — one for roaming throughout the venue (with the help of an RF Venue antenna system) and the other reserved for the gaming room.
The Irwin Hotel Group has secured the foreseeable future of the Seaview Hotel. It’s crazy to consider that in the middle of a pandemic when the hospitality sector is doing it tough in so many ways that a gem like the Seaview Hotel (est. 1929) is only just hitting middle age and will endure many more upheavals and outlast us all. And it’s heartening to see owners that appreciate the asset in their possession.
You get the feeling that General Manager Jason Schell doesn’t need reminding:
“It’s a beautiful spot with the beach right out front. We can now accommodate everyone with three genuinely distinct offerings: a 1000sqm beer garden bar, a fully refurbished indoor restaurant bar with rebuilt new furniture and flooring, and a sports bar with TAB on the front corner where you can watch the world go by. The redevelopment means the venue is now beautifully opened up. You can be sitting there, enjoying a beer, staring at the ocean, listening to music or sport. It’s a pretty cool atmosphere.”