The Arkaba Hotel, part of the Hurley Hotel Group, is the first venue in South Australia to introduce ‘Quiet Dinners’ on the first Monday of every month, as a result of a partnership between Autism SA and the Australian Hotels Association SA who are working together to make South Australian venues more inclusive and accessible.

Almost 60% of autistic people and their families avoid going to pubs and bars. Bright lights, loud noises, crowded venues, and overpowering smells can all add to a sensory overload for people on the spectrum. 

To make dining out more accessible and inclusive for the Autistic community, the Quiet Dinners will take place on the first Monday of each month from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. 

A section of the venue will have lights dimmed, a reduced volume of music, a private bar to order from, and the dinners will be located in a place where people can easily enter and exit without having to walk through crowds.

Hurley Hotel Group Publican, Anna Hurley, is looking forward to launching the first Quiet Dinner on Monday.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people to our first Quiet Dinner and provide them with a calm and welcoming space to enjoy a classic pub meal with their friends and family,” Anna said. 

Autism SA’s CEO Helen Graham says it is a great initiative to help the Autistic community feel more welcomed, comfortable and importantly, included.  

“Many people don’t think twice about going out for dinner, but for the Autistic community it can be an overwhelming experience. The Quiet Dinner at the Arkaba could make all the difference for someone who might otherwise choose to stay at home, it allows them to participate and be included.”

Australian Hotels Association SA CEO Anna Moeller says that pubs have always been a reflection of our community.  

“They are a place where people congregate, celebrate and sometimes even commiserate.  

“The Quiet Night dining experience being pioneered by the Arkaba is an opportunity to make the hotel experience more inclusive and accessible to as many in our community as possible,” says Ms Moeller.

Assistant Minister for Autism Emily Bourke says initiatives like the new Arkaba ‘Quiet Dinners’ will build knowledge of autism and help the autistic and autism communities better enjoy what many take for granted – enjoying a pub meal with friends and family.

“I am constantly hearing from families the difficulties they face in being able to attend a venue or event as a family unit and from autistic adults about having sensory inclusive environments to go out and celebrate a birthday or special event.”

Arkaba Quiet Dinners start on Monday 5 February 2024, head here to book.