Beer servicing in a heritage-listed building
Barons were first contacted regarding this project by Milieu Creative, the architect and interior design team that brought the amazing 1882-built Royal Hotel back to life. Their goal in working with Barons was to engineer a multi-storey bar system within the limits of a heritage-listed building. Although they had already devised some pathways, Milieu called on our expertise to keep the project top-tier. After all, they were restoring an iconic Australian pub and in doing so, resurrecting the heart and soul of Perth’s original bar scene!
Barons has previously worked alongside Milieu Creative on two of Andy Freeman’s Jeans & Sneakers projects, including Hadiqa and Goody Two’s. Our team had also previously completed another project for the owner of The Royal – John Parker – at his other venue The Standard. Milieu opted to work with Barons on the basis of this past work, plus the fact that we would be a single point-of-contact they could wholeheartedly trust to avoid a ‘cookie cutter’ solution.
Combining state-of-the-art systems with preservation needs
Bringing an iconic Perth pub back to life could not be done without ensuring a good quality draught beer system to deliver ice-cold pints time and time again. You only get one chance to create a first impression when opening your new bar – so a poorly designed system would have been a travesty. As such, the client required a state-of-the-art back-of-house dispense system that would be powerful enough to cater to thousands of people on a typical weekend. In the front-of-house, they needed elegant beer taps that would harmonise with the rest of the Milieu décor. These requirements had to be fitted out across a basement level, two service levels and a rooftop space – all at one of Perth’s busiest street corners!
The nature of the Barons’ solution was ‘heritage meets modern’ – a bit like an original Federation home with an ultra-modern extension out the back. From the street and interior, every part of the pub is as it would have been. But if you dive deeper into the build, you can see how modern engineering has been incorporated. We completed a rooftop bar system, a cafe-style ground floor venue, a second-floor restaurant and a cellar, plus all of the lines, systems and cool rooms behind-the-scenes. The solution was designed around cost-savings and safety. We built the Hotel cellar around our industry-leading pneumatic beer pump systems, which can reduce CO2 consumption by up to 80%. When combined with Foam-On-Beer detectors, wastage and overhead costs can also be cut by up to 70% compared to a traditional system. We also installed CO2 monitors into the cool room area and the cellar area to meet top-tier safety standards.
Our implementation strategy for this project was preparation – and a lot of it. The two biggest tasks for us were coming up with the critical pathways for beer lines and copper pipes to run, and then working them into a very small window of opportunity. To manage this, we organised all of the placement and timelines in the design phase – long before anyone had stepped foot on site. The pipework needed to travel up three floors without being seen by the public once the venue opened, which meant we needed to get early access to the building. But we also needed the loading area on Wellington Street to be closed so that we could start the fit-out. This left us with a very small window of time, and meant that everything had to be orchestrated perfectly. Long before the project reached this point, we made sure our core penetrations were in place along with all of our PVC ductwork. We secured special permission in order to get pipework up to the rooftop before access was no longer available, and then worked to incorporate the lines under floor boards, through risers and in overhead pipework across all three floors. At this stage, we discovered that the basement wasn’t all that square in shape. As such, we had to make on-the-go changes to the cool room panels. Many more cuts were required to fit them and create a vapor seal for the cool room – but if we had not have done this, the plant would have broken down far sooner. That’s not the Barons way, so we did everything we could to solve the problem there and then.
Working in the hustle and bustle of the city’s busiest intersection posed another challenge. We worked with the design team for months and months before the project was looking to go ahead to secure the timeline and make sure our side of the project wouldn’t hold anyone else up. We were fortunate that the site plumbers (Precise Plumbing and Gas) and the stainless steel and equipment contractor (Practical Products) were both companies we had worked closely with before. Working alongside them on multiple other projects meant we were always updating one another to keep the project rolling along. Across different stages of this project we had two of our draught beer installations teams, two of our commercial refrigeration teams and a project manager onsite to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
Although we had discussed the benefits of the beer pump system and the savings created by implementing Foam-On-Beer detectors many times, the client didn’t truly grasp the cost savings until they’d been in operation for over a month. When a keg empties, they don’t need to pour off any beer – they simply connect the next keg and watch it pour perfectly right away! Gas consumption is down by over 70% compared to their other venue, and that in itself can be a saving of thousands of dollars every year. Thanks to dedicated planning, cooperation and respect for our heritage, the Royal Hotel is now in operation and Barons will continue it’s wonderful working relationship with Milieu for years to come.