Small bar gets royal treatment

STEVE LAVELL is making an emotional return to Maylands to open a cafe and small bar on Eighth Avenue.

After spending seven years working as a journalist in Melbourne, Lavell got homesick and has returned to his childhood suburb to embark on a new career. He will spend around $600,000 kitting out Henry on Eighth, which includes a ground floor cafe and a small bar on the first floor.

“I was looking for a reason to come back home and was really inspired by all the changes that have happened in Maylands over the past 18 months—it has really come alive,” he says.

“Venues like Mrs S and the Swallow Bar have really transformed the place: it is so different from the place where I grew up. Being a jounro, I’ve always loved coffee,” he laughs, “and I love my food too, so it seemed like a natural career change.”

Henry on Eighth will be built in front of the liquor barn BWS, in the old clearance outlet, which has been empty for around 18 months. Lavell says the menu will be modern Australian and he plans to hold book launches, poetry nights and small exhibitions in the venue.

• Steve Lavell outside the proposed site for his small bar, Henry on Eighth. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Steve Lavell outside the proposed site for his small bar, Henry on Eighth. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“Maylands has changed out of sight and I want to celebrate its new-found diversity by showcasing local talent,” he says.

“With the local ballet moving into Maylands and the planned new music venue Lyric Lane, the place is set to become a cultural hub.”

Mr Lavell plans to open the downstairs cafe in April and the small bar in August.

Meanwhile, WA opposition leader Mark McGowan says it’s too hard for small bars to get started, and pledges to make it easier if elected premier: “Police and health bureaucrats have to stop their ridiculous automatic objections to all applications for liquor licences,” he says on his Facebook page. “We need to give equal weight to tourism, culture and the arts when applications are considered.”

Mr McGowan says interventions by the police and health commissioners are “well-intended but sometimes poorly targeted”. “I know alcohol abuse in our community is a big problem, but knee-jerk licence rejections are not the answer. In fact, it’s arguable that allowing more intimate, small scale and sophisticated licensed venues could be part of the solution. Let’s bring back some common sense and support those entrepreneurs.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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