By Brad Foster

Those 400 industry folk at last year’s Meetings & Events Australia conference will fondly remember the wonderful night at the new and stunning Howard Smith Wharves with views of the Story Bridge and perched below the cliffs of Kangaroo Point.

It was a beautiful night that if my memory is correct even included fireworks. Ah, remember those days.

The Howards Hall event space – rustic, charming and with a real vibe to it – is a little like the popular Carriageworks in Sydney. It was a blank canvas that creative event planners, with a few subtle touches, could create something that sat well for a stand-up cocktail event or more formal dinner.

Now, it seems, that space is to be transformed into… wait for it… a beer hall that we can only guess is German in origin.

From my knowledge of Brisbane and the location of Howard Smith Wharves, the local residents are pretty vocal when it comes to new things in their hotly held suburb. The precinct sits below the well-heeled New Farm, some of whose residents, I have it on good authority, kicked up a bit of a stink when the Howard Smith Wharves project was first mooted.

Changing it into a beer hall maybe isn’t going to go down too well with them when they get wind of it if, indeed, they haven’t already.

There is, reportedly, a development application in at the council, with the owners citing a loss of business due to COVID-19 the reason for the “pivot”.

But a beer hall? Can the New Farm residents on high expect the sound of an oompa loompa band to help drift them off to sleep when life gets back to normal?

We at micenet heard about the plans over one week ago. We contacted Howard Smith Wharves for comment and were told: “We will be able to provide a media statement in due course” and that they would be in touch once this was available.

Well, it appears that this wasn’t the case and the Brisbane Courier Mail got what we thought was a “scoop” and reported on the story on Monday, August 17, that included comments from the current CEO.

This is a little disappointing, as are the venue’s plans to repurpose a stunning corporate event venue into something more akin to a Buck’s or Hen’s night out.

We will be continuing to follow this story with interest.