A NEW speakeasy-cum-barbershop on Beaufort Street was approved by Vincent council this week.
City planning staff had recommended councillors reject the application for the Blind Pig Speakeasy at 559 Beaufort Street because it didn’t include any parking bays.
Applicants Bootlegging Wolves were looking at having to provide 27 bays to comply with the council parking policy or pay almost $100,000 cash-in-lieu.
The cash-in-lieu is used at a later date to fund public parking or other transport options to compensate for the lack of bays.
But Vincent deputy mayor Susan Gontaszewski tabled an alternative motion to approve the bar with a maximum of 100 patrons and $42,300 cash-in-lieu over five years, which was approved by council.
She said it wouldn’t need 27 bays because it’s on a high frequency bus route, there’s public carparks and a taxi rank nearby, and people are increasingly using rideshare services to get to bars.
She noted there’s also a condition they install bike parking.
Cr Ros Harley said it was a bit of a concern council’s policy required parking at bars: “I think there’s a fundamental issue with combining the need for carparking with an alcohol or liquor outlet….for me the linkage between them is a worrying one.”
One big point in the bar’s favour was that it’d have a barbershop at the front, as Beaufort Street has become more of a night-time precinct over the last decade and now has fewer businesses open during the day.
Cr Jonathan Hallett, a senior lecturer in public health by day, said; “I’m not a big fan of increasing the number of alcohol outlets in the city, particularly when we’re talking about some of the town centres and the number of small bars” but the day time activation was a plus.
Mayor Emma Cole says: “One of the issues we have identified is where small bars wholly take over retail, it can have an impact on our day time activity in our town centres…I think this was a really clever way of keeping that daytime interaction whilst having a speakeasy concept behind the barbershop”.
by DAVID BELL