Adelaide’s small bar boom is set to continue in 2015 with 12 new applications pending — on the back of a series of new openings late last year.
December was the biggest month to date for small venue openings after six new venues were given licences — taking the total active small venue licences to 36.
Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Dini Soulio says he expects the number of small bars to continue to grow.
“I would expect we will see more and more applications and more clever and original venues opening in our city,” Mr Soulio said.
“Small bars (are) giving South Australians and tourists more options for a night out, and it’s a centrepiece of a broad government program to create a vibrant and safe city.”
Since the new class of liquor licensing for small venues was introduced in April 2013, the Liquor Licencing Commission has received 53 small venue applications, with four applications rejected.
The new class of liquor licensing for small venues came in after the State Government flagged in November 2011, its vision to introduce a small venues culture to Adelaide.
Opening a small licensed venue involves obtaining a liquor licence and a valid development approval from Adelaide City Council.
The venue can cater for up to 120 people and trade from 11am to midnight (or 2am for an additional fee).
Adelaide City Council’s city culture and community services general manager Sandy Verschoor said the new licensing process had simplified the administration needed to seek a licence, making it more “cost effective” to open a small bar.
The introduction of the small venue liquor license has seen a boom for the city’s small streets and laneways with many venues opening as hole in the wall, boutique bars in what have traditionally been unrealised parts of the CBD,” Ms Verschoor said.
“Whether through adding to the colour and movement of the city, or by providing the opportunity for entrepreneurs to create their own small business, the more than 30 small venues now around town have really added to the vibe and visitor experience.”
The newest small bar to Peel St, La Rambla — a Spanish-inspired tapas bar — has been popular since opening in early December.
Co-owner Steph Gibbs said small bars brought “something exciting” to the city.
“Bank St, Leigh St and Peel St are the go-to places for small bars and there is lots of new places popping up all the time,” Ms Gibbs said.
“Small bars add that cool vibe to the city.
All of the small bars that opened in 2014 have been successful and that shows people thinking about venturing in hospitality, that it works.
“They can bring something else to the table and that’s great for Adelaide and hospitality.”