It’s had many iterations over its 180-year history, but it’s certainly never looked like this.
The team behind Sparkke Change Beverage Company have taken over the historic Whitmore Hotel, with a brewpub and rooftop bar.
The brewpub officially opens March 8, International Women’s Day, a fitting date given the all-female led team.
General manager Ali James said they believe a great pub brings tribes together and leaves a positive footprint in the community.
“We want a sense of warmth and celebration as people walk in,” she said.
“This city is ready for Sparkke to disrupt the male-dominated hospitality and alcohol industries.
The team initially planned to just rent the space, give it a lick of paint, and open the doors. But those plans then developed into adding a microbrewery, then an extension, then a rooftop bar – so the eventually they bought the pub and got busy doing the makeover.
They were given their blessing to do what they wanted to the venue, as long as they kept the stone facade intact. And as they started peeling back the layers, they found more than they expected, including a shingle ceiling and a “pub within a pub”.
“We discovered an external wall inside the building, from its first life as the Queens Arms – licensed to Thomas Maslin in 1838, two years after Adelaide was colonised – that had been enveloped in a previous build,” said Ali.
“We have preserved this and several other great historic finds, including the original keg cellar under the bottle shop’s grille floor.”
Head brewer Agi Gagic oversees the microbrewery, which sits right in the middle of the lower level, with the 100 per cent natural beers available on tap at the main bar a few steps away. A beer garden and dining space makes up the rest of the lower floor.
Upstairs is a more relaxed lounge area, function spaces and a board room, and then head outside for the spacious rooftop bar, which has its own kitchen and bar, and looks out over the tree canopy of Whitmore Square.
In the kitchen, head chef Tracey Archer has created a menu of what she calls, “healthy pub grub”. And this is a pub where dietary requirements aren’t frowned upon, but almost celebrated, with oodles of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free options.
For the full brewpub experience, try the brewers board – dip the bread, specially baked with Sparkke’s New England IPA inside, with a black IPA cheese fondue, smoked olives, plus pear and vegetables pickled in cider.
Or the sticky shitake mushrooms, a vegan main that Tracey said even non-vegans can’t get enough of. Think of it as a deconstructed poke bowl, with green bamboo rice.
Meals are available for lunch and dinner, and there’s also a bar grazing menu available all day.
And you can even take a bit of the whole experience home. The downstairs corner of the pub will house a florist, bottle shop and general store, where you can pick up drinks, carefully selected produce, plus even some of Tracey’s delicious home creations will be for sale. Growlers and crowlers of Sparkke’s brews will also be available for takeaway.
Sparkke at the Whitmore, 317 Morphett St, Adelaide.