Manager hopes Warrnambool summer laneway pop-up bar will return

Paddy O'Brien

Paddy O'Brien

THE man behind Warrnambool’s pop-up laneway bar is hoping the venue can return for a short season this summer but that it will become a permanent fixture on the city’s calendar.

Paddy O’Brien has worked at the bar – located off Liebig Street between the Pickled Pig and Harris & Wood Real Estate – for each of its three years, starting as an employee under instigator Edward Mahony in the bar’s first year and then as a partner in the two most recent years.

This year, Mr O’Brien, 21, has applied for a liquor licence for the pop-up laneway bar as the sole operator.

The Warrnambool man, who is studying in Melbourne, said he was hoping to get an ongoing liquor licence to ensure the pop-up bar’s viability over the coming years, instead of having to renew the licence each year.

While the laneway venue has run for the majority of summer in the past, Mr O’Brien said this year it was his intention to only be open for “a couple of nights in December and a couple in January” before he heads overseas in mid-January.

But despite the shorter season, he said he was keen to keep it running.

“We’ve had some really good community support from the charities (we’ve supported), and its especially been great from Warrnambool City Council,” Mr O’Brien said.

“In previous years they’ve been a bit unsure, but this year they’re on board. I think (initially) they were unsure if this was something Warrnambool would take to.”

This summer’s stint in the laneway would be without the involvement of neighbouring restaurant Pickled Pig, Mr O’Brien said.

But the fundraising side of the bar would continue in the form of a single night where all profits will go to a chosen charity.

“Last year we raised $7500 and two years ago it was $8000,” Mr O’Brien said.

All tips for the summer would also go to a charity, and organisations would be able to hold information nights and fundraisers at the venue.

“A real community focus is what we strive for,” he said, adding that in past summer’s the bar had attracted a wide age demographic.

Mr O’Brien said he would be keen to have acoustic music and local vinyl DJs perform at the venue again.