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The Terrace Bar

Underground Arts & Music Venue

529 Hunter St (btw Union & Auckland Sts), Newcastle NSW 2300
Wed to Fri 4pm-12am
Sat 11am-12am Sun 11am-10pm

Chris Hearn
m: 0450381337
e: [email protected]

The Terrace Bar is a boutique beer, wine and cocktail bar, and underground arts and music venue, spread across two floors and a spacious outdoor terrace garden.

This small bar is the result of a long process undertaken by Chris Hearn, a seasoned musician and event planner. Most notably, Chris was co-director of Sound Summit Festival and event planner at the Croatian Wickham Sports Club, building a reputation for delivering great events to the community.

Chris started working on this project in early 2011, engaging in consultations, obtaining the appropriate license and negotiating his own long-term lease.

Renew Newcastle jumped on board to lend a supporting hand. “This is more of a special, one-off project for Renew Newcastle. Usually our projects occupy spaces under a 30 day notice period agreement and Renew Newcastle usually brokers access to the space with the owner,” says Marni Jackson, General Manager of Renew Newcastle. “In this case, however, Chris had done most of that work before Renew Newcastle got involved. He had secured a long term lease under his own terms. As an artist and organiser Chris has a track record in delivering cultural events, and demonstrated he had the initiative and commitment to bring this new venue to life. We were able to provide a bit of support in getting his DA together and in the compliance works which were needed to get the property safe and usable again.”

“The reason we wanted to support Chris’ project,” continues Marni, “was because it has such a strong cultural element to it and provides a real opportunity for the creative community in adding to the diversity of venues available for performances and events.”

Located near corner of Union Street, The Terrace Bar is close to a bunch of other Newcastle favourites Emma SoupIndigo Books & The Rock ShopThe Terrace Bar is there to stay and is set to become a permanent fixture of the Newcastle cultural nightlife. We caught up with Chris to talk about the big ideas that brought this small bar to life.

What defines a small bar?

In 2007, there was a campaign called “Raise the Bar” in Sydney which came together to change the Liquor Act in NSW. As it stood, the only way to obtain a license was to buy it from an existing bar as no new licenses were being released. The licenses became ludicrously expensive, making it virtually impossible for anyone to open a small bar. Eventually, the Hotel/General bar license was introduced, which the city of Sydney limited to 120 patrons. Newcastle hadn’t put anything into place yet so I applied using Sydney as a model. I probably could fit more than 120 people in the space but it’s manageable and comfortable for us and our clientele.

The Terrace Bar is divided over two floors which will each be used quite differently. What’s happening downstairs?

We have a small lounge bar which serves craft beer, local and organic wine, and cocktails. The emphasis is on sourcing quality products but also working directly with local, ethical and independently owned companies. We also serve a selection of vegan pies and light meals.

What sort of events are taking place on the second floor?

I hope this is the place people will come to when they want to see or hear things that don’t fit into the current Newcastle cultural scene very well, whether it’s because they are too experimental or because spaces aren’t set up for it. I hope to fill half of the calendar with things like film screenings, book readings, comedy nights, poetry slams…

Most of the music I book isn’t commercial. They are artists and I think they deserve to be treated a little differently. They aren’t bands that are designed to work as background music in a pub. I think that’s why it works having the two bars: I can be as diverse as I want upstairs without conflicting with the clientele having a drink downstairs.

Performer or Event Enqiuries:

The Terrace Bar is seeking curators, filmmakers, video and multimedia artists, writers, speakers, and performers of all kinds to present or participate in our calendar of events. If you are a creator or curator, please contact us for more information, or even pitch us a developed idea for your event by emailing [email protected]” or visit here.