Such a sad fact of liquor liscening laws when another venue has trouble opening, because of the narrow mindedness of many of the Ballarat community, and because of the limitations on venues that both serve alcohol and support live music and performing arts.
Please support The Oceanic Lounge - whose facebook group of 775 members and rising is found here. - "a new comedy / music venue and cafe situated at 97 Bridge Mall, Ballarat."
There has been many city council meetings about the opening of this venue, which due to strict policies with massive generalisations has to file itself as a "nightclub" - hopefully this beautiful venue will be able to get around the red tape and be a wonderful addition to Ballarat's live music scene - and provide an alternative to other music venues in town that are quite hectic. Somewhere nice and laidback, but with awesome acoustics and a medium-sized stage perfect for local community dance and singing groups, bands, comedians, theatre... sounds good to me.
The Oceanic Lounge's open letter to the Ballarat community :
The following is an open letter from proprietor Dona Pentland and her partner Geoff Hassall, to the Ballarat City Council and those business owners in the Bridge Mall area objecting to the opening of The Oceanic Lounge at 97 Bridge Mall, Ballarat:
" To whom it may concern,
Having read carefully through the objections to the planning application for 97 Bridge Mall, we wish to clear up what is obviously a misunderstanding as to the kind of venue proposed.
The term “night club” the only available label under council regulations for a venue of this size that does not provide full restaurant service, is misleading in this case. The objections all hinge upon the perception that we are intending to cater for the late night twenty something drinkers and ravers. The opposite is in fact true.
The application is for 1 am closing. This is the very time when the type of revellers who bedevil Ballarat’s night life are just getting going. We want to create a venue that will nurture Ballarat’s rich art’s community. A place where Jazz, folk, community choirs, original local and imported live acts can be presented in a setting where great care is taken to ensure that the music sounds good! There is a clear lack of such a place in Ballarat at present. A place where poets and local theatre groups can be showcased, where dance groups can hold evenings with enough room to move, in short a wide range of entertainment that does NOT include loud pre-recorded music and binge drinking till all hours.
I am a locally based musician, and my partner and I have both worked here for almost ten years in Arts based Disability support. We have a broad network of fellow artists, workers, and families who share our frustration at the lack of a medium sized venue of this kind, with wheelchair access to a welcoming non threatening environment.
Regarding concerns about sound levels, in addition to ticking all the boxes of the Liquor Licensing Board’s requirements, the building (originally being a bank) has extremely thick insulated ceiling tiles, designed to muffle sound. The solid brick structure has a double entrance with very heavy doors.
We have received encouragement from quite a few local traders who see the presence of a venue of this nature, as a welcome addition to a dining and arts precinct distinct from the designated ‘night club’ area of Ballarat*.
Our Vision has always been to set up a venue that is the very antithesis of the kind of places that produce most of the problems detailed in the objections.
A great majority of this community like to enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, take in a show, have a few drinks before heading home at reasonable hour. Why should Ballarats night time culture be held to ransom by the behaviour of drunken patrons of The ‘nightclubs’ where it would seem that music, entertainment and social interaction are dominated and distorted by the imperative to sell as much booze as possible.
Some years ago the feminist movement ran a campaign called, If I recall ‘Take back the night’ aimed at making the streets safe for women at night in the Melbourne CBD. What about making a place for all the rest of us? who do not want to mingle with upset drunks, and have our senses numbed by conversation killing levels of in house ‘Disco’ just so we can have an evening out.
All the local eateries except McDonalds are licensed already.
We anticipate that the kind of patrons we will attract will enhance the business of surrounding restaurants.
Many of the problems such as, urinating, vomiting, random acts of vandalism.etc. are already with us, and short of gating the Mall at each end I cannot see how preventing one more local trader in your midst** will stop the drunks passing through on their way home from the Lydiard street precinct to the eastern suburbs.
* It should be noted that last year,Dona Pentland was actively involved in the establishment of an action committee to deal with bullying and vandalism in the Bakery Hill end of the Mall. The committee members included Catherine King, Councillor Des Hudson, Geoff Howard MLA.,Senior Ballarat Police, the Courier, Local radio, and student representatives.
**As a new addition to the community of businesses we would seek to be actively involved in any enlightened initiative to preserve and improve the amenity and safety of the area.
Yours in good faith,
Geoff Hassall & Dona Pentland "
Hope to see this one set sail.