BUNDABERG'S entertainment precinct has begun to take on a decidedly metropolitan feel as club and hotel owners vie for nightlife supremacy.
Millions of dollars have been pumped into the local economy as venues go under the tradesman's trowel in an effort to broaden their appeal and attract new markets.
Popular establishments such as the Club Hotel, Sugarland Tavern and Queenslander Hotel have undergone major renovations in recent months and upgrades are in the pipeline for the Grand Hotel and Melbourne Hotel.
The stylised interior decoration and mood lighting of Sugarland Tavern's new One nightclub and the new-look front bar of the Club Hotel have more in common with inner-city nightclubs than regional Queensland public bars.
Club Hotel manger and owner Simon Thompson said the upgrade of his venue would help attract a broader clientele base.
"We want to ... appeal to women and business people, not only the old public bar-type patrons," he said.
Queenslander Hotel's Q-Bar, set to be officially launched next month, will trade as a cafe during the day and a cocktail and wine bar by night.
Promotions manager Kreed Ashwood said the new bar would help fill a niche within Bundaberg's entertainment precinct.
"It's going to offer a relaxed lounge atmosphere with a wide range of cocktails, wines and spirits," he said.
Sugarland Tavern general manager Rory O'Connor said One nightclub aimed to offer partygoers a metropolitan club experience in their own back yard.
"It's about trying to bring the atmosphere of Brisbane to Bundaberg and creating a modern, sophisticated venue," he said.
"We decided it was time to upgrade and turn the tavern into a multi-entertainment venue."
Grand Hotel duty manager David Berthelsen said the well-known pub would soon take on more modern decor and furnishings as part of a major redevelopment.
"You've got to keep up with the competition," he said.
"It's important to keep abreast of changes and keep venues updated so they appeal to new customers."
Hotels spend up
- Club Hotel - More than $200,000 spent on refurbishment of front bar area and function room
- Sugarland Tavern - $1 million spent on One nightclub
- Grand Hotel - $2 million to be spent on upgrade of restaurant, bar and upstairs backpackers' accommodation
- Queenslander Hotel - $350,000 spent on Q-Bar; $1 million total spent on venue past 18 months
- Melbourne Hotel - Spokesperson did not respond