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Paying homage to the beloved Reverence Hotel

The Rev arrived in the wake of Arthouse's decline and blew up from the get-go.

Footscray’s much-loved Reverence Hotel sadly announced this week that it has not been able to secure its lease on the building and will be calling last drinks on Saturday March 2, 2019. The premier punk rock venue of Melbourne’s west, the pub emerged in 2012 taking over the building of the former Exchange Hotel. The successor to the legendary Arthouse which closed in similar circumstances in 2011, The Reverence hit the ground running with a great kitchen and staff while carrying over much of the vibes and music of The Arthouse. While catering primarily to punk rock inclined clientele, the venue never lost sight of its position as a suburban corner pub, with all welcome through its doors.

I first attended the pub when it was still The Exchange in 2010 or 2011, yet at that time it was just a typical suburban pub with little to write home about. After the closure of The Arthouse, there was much speculation and rumour about what the Bodiam family would be moving on to next, and before too long they had announced they would be opening a new pub. A few cryptic social media posts later and the new venue was revealed. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m certain that for a week or two the pub was announced as being called The Liberty or something similar, although this was quickly changed to The Reverence. Although I had spent a couple of years going to The Arthouse, it was exciting to see the tradition carrying on to a new space. Since then the pub had always been a local to me; friendly, good music, good gigs, excellent trivia nights, and always a place where anybody would feel welcome to drink some beers, eat some tacos, see some bands or simply just hang out. 

While the pub initially only had the front bandroom open for shows, the expansion of the much larger back bandroom in 2013 opened up the venue to even larger shows, with many local and international artists gracing its stages. Joined by the beer garden in the middle between the bandrooms, the venue was a perfect set up for all day festivals and multi-stage shows. Attending countless shows there, certain highlights would include NOLA from Japan in 2014 and Rort in 2012. However, the venue truly came fully alive during all day events like The Weekender and Not Fest, with the entire pub accommodating tunes, beers and friends. Perhaps the hottest and sweatiest show I can recall there was with Frenzal Rhomb in January 2015. I was completely soaked.

At this stage there has been no word of plans to continue business elsewhere at a new venue, but as they’ve proved before there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that the spirit and soul of The Reverence (and The Arthouse) will carry on to another location. That being said, The Reverence Hotel has put forward its full intention to carry on with business until March 2019, with plans already in the works to make its final months as big and celebratory as possible. With no shortage of great gigs coming up on the calendar, I will be making every endeavour to get down there even more than I do already. Come down, we’ll have a beer.