Last year there was a lot of press about how the City of Newcastle was refusing to create a dedicated small bar licence, despite there being a strong demand to reduce alcohol related violence, and move away from the ‘beer barn’ mentality that exists in the city. There was even a petition created to garner support for the initiative.
So I was surprised to notice on the Newcastle Herald’s site this morning, an article talking about all of the new wine bars that are set to open in Newcastle over the next few months.
The article discusses how there are four new wine bars-cum-eateries are poised to open – all targeting tipplers of a mature vintage.
Siblings Rebecca Thompson, Alison and Garth Buchanan opened their hugely popular business in July 2010 as a takeaway coffee outlet with a few hand-made chocolates and retail products on the side.
They are moving to a bigger site, beneath Morrin Dental, to accommodate their changed and expanded business model and sought the liquor licence at the behest of their clientele.
“Our customers have told us they would like to come for a drink after work or before dinner in the mall,” said Rebecca, who added the family had not decided whether they would continue to operate their current business once the new venture opened.
So how is it, that in a town that doesn’t have a dedicated small bar liquor licence, that so many ‘wine bars’ are allowed to open?
The answer effectively lies in a loop hole in the liquor licensing laws which I wrote an article about last year.
In short, it discusses how a number of small bars are opening up under a combination Restaurant/PSA licences, rather than dedicated small bar licences. Something, it seems, that the cafe owners of Newcastle have obviously cottoned on to!