Melbourne Nightlife Blog

31 March, 2008

Hockey: There is no drinking problem

Shadow Health Minister Joe Hockey has told Sky News Australia "most Australians are very responsible when it comes to alcohol consumption" and "we have to stop pointing the finger at young Australians, in saying they are consistent binge drinkers, they are not". He said Australia should focus more on illegal drugs as "over the last few years young people have turned to drugs, because alcohol has either become more expensive or its been harder to access".

Source: Sky News

28 March, 2008

Man arrested over strip-club shooting

Aaron Sindoni, a 23 year-old man from Pascoe Vale, was arrested this afternoon by Victoria Police. The arrest followed the shooting of a security guard, 43 year-old Sede Ferry, outside Larry Flint's Hustler Club in Brunswick at 1.50am this morning. Mr Sindoni will appear in Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Source: Herald Sun

New Bar: Sweatshop

Deck of Secrets is reporting that the planned basement level of the recently opened Seamstress bar, Sweatshop, is now open. "The stripped back décor and raw appeal make it a more casual alternative to its more formal siblings and likely to attract a younger [crowd]."

Source: Deck of Secrets

Catholics back Fielding

The Catholic church has yesterday backed plans for a ban on alcohol advertising before 9pm. The Australian Catholic bishop's conference is quoted in The Age as saying "Consuming alcohol is an adult activity and deciding to consume alcohol should be an adult decision."

Source: The Age

New Bar: Maha

Opening yesterday, Melbourne's newest Middle Eastern Bar and Grill, Maha, claims it will provide a "new concept" to Melbourne. Maha is opening into the late evenings to allow for the Arabic custom of Sa'hra - food will be served from 11pm to 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Situated on Bond Street, close to Bond Bar, Deck of Secrets says the interior is "a seductive blend of chocolate coloured wall seating with striped backs, lattice-style screens, wooden tables and sophisticated dark wood paneling".

Source: Official website, Press Release [PDF] & Deck of Secrets.

Place your drunken bets before December

Under ammendments to the Gaming Act being introduced from December 1, it will be an offence for Tabcorp to knowingly accept bets from anyone who is intoxicated. A Tabcorp spokesperson said the change would apply to almost 100 TABs in Victoria.

Source: Herald Sun

Industry with the highest alcoholism: Hospitality

15% of hospitality workers and 14.7% of construction and mining workers in the United States have problems with alcohol. The report from George Washington University Medical Center uses 2006 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Comorbidity Survey to gauge the effects of alcohol dependence and abuse in 13 industry sectors.

It suggests the key ingredients for alcohol problems in an industry are young people and men - which make up larger than average proportions of the hospitality and construction industries, respectively.

Source: Wichita Business Journal

Wayne Carey a poster boy for what drinking does

Andrew Denton, host of the ABC's Enough Rope interview program, has said about his most recent interview; "If there's a two-word summary for this interview, it's the phrase of the moment: binge drinking. Wayne Carey, whether he likes it or not, is now the poster boy for what binge drinking does to people."

Enough Rope will broadcast on the ABC, Monday at 9:35pm.

Source: The Age

27 March, 2008

Diageo criticises Fosters and Lion Nathan

Diageo, which has an estimated third of the $668 million super-strength "alcopops" market, has defended its decision to continue to sell Smirnoff Ice Double Black, which has an energy additive.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Diageo's corporate affairs director, Ron Ainsbury, saying Smirnoff's caffeine levels were in line with those in soft drinks and made a clear attack at Fosters for their decision to drop energy additives. He went on to say "Why don't [Fosters] get out of marketing their beer with the Boony doll which is aimed at children?"

Fosters' spokesperson, Troy Hey, said he was disappointed by Diageo's comments. He denied the Boony "figurine" was targeting children and said it aimed at "adult cricket watchers".

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Smoking bans not killing pubs

The Sydney Morning Herald's MySmallBusiness section has a piece on Victorian pubs and bars have been affected by the smoking bans introduced last year. "Nine months on, most of the state's pubs and hotels have adjusted to the smoking ban, with some reportedly even prospering."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

VicHealth wants further alcohol restrictions

While welcoming moves by the two of the largest producers of "alcopops" Fosters and Lion Nathan to reduce their alcohol content of single-serve ready-to-drink mixed drinks to a maximum of 2 standard drinks, VicHealth has called for a maximum of 1.5 standard drinks per product or 5 per cent alcohol concentration per serve.

VicHealth has also isolated a "dirty dozen" of pre-mixed drinks that is believes are "causing a lot of harm amongst young people".

The Herald Sun also highlights arguments for taxing high-alcohol content beverages at a higher rate than low-strength alcoholic drinks. The National Drug Research Institute is reported as saying an increase in the price of high-strength alcohol would reduce alcohol consumption.

Source: Herald Sun

Corey Worthington to do UK phone ads

Corey Worthington, Melbourne's answer to Paris Hilton, has had his agent Max Markson confirm he will be appearing in mobile phone commercials for the United Kingdom's O2 mobile. The campaign is set to launch on Monday.


25 March, 2008

Cigarette-like warning labels for alcohol

There has been increased media speculation in the last week about the possibility of cigarette-style warning labels on alcohol. From Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon wanting "an examination of whether warning labels will be effective or not" (ABC Online), to the Queensland Premier and deputy Opposition Leader backing the plan. Anna Bligh, Premier or Queensland, was quoted by the ABC saying "I think the idea of a warning label on alcohol is a very good one".

Paul Dillon from Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia took a counter approach to the issue, saying the community wouldn't feel comfortable "having a meal at a restaurant [and seeing] a rotting liver on the side of their bottle of red".

While the People's Alcohol Action Coalition said the warning label changes are welcome, but would not have a major impact on reducing teen binge drinking like an increase in taxes would. Whereas David Murray, executive director of the Youth Substance Abuse Service, would also like to increase taxes and enforce bans on alcohol-related television advertising.

The only certainty is that most of these ideas will be discussed at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Adelaide, tomorrow.

24 March, 2008

Government: No increase in drinking age

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has today ruled out increasing the national drinking age from 18 to 21 years of age in the near future. She also said alcohol tax increases were not priorities in the short-term but would be considered if there was community support.

Source: The Age

23 March, 2008

Increasing the drinking age to 21

Jason Dowling has written a two-page piece in today's Age about the current push for the drinking age to be lifted from 18 to 21 years of age. Professor Jon Currie, chairman of the Victorian Drug and Alcohol Prevention Council and the director of addiction medicine and mental health at St Vincent's Hospital, said lifting the drinking age to 21 would be a "last resort", but it should definitely be included in discussions about youth alcohol abuse.

Others in support of an increase of the age for drinking alcohol include John Toumbourou, a Deakin University health psychology professor who also works for the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. He said he was a "very strong supporter" of lifting the drinking age as it had a proven track record of reducing alcohol-related harm to the brain, which is still forming into the early 20s.

Brian Kearney, chief executive of Victoria's Australian Hotels Association (AHA), said lifting the limit would make criminals of thousands of 18 to 21 year-old youths.

Source: The Age

Ramsay coming to Melbourne

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is set to open a signature restaurant in Melbourne's Crown Casino, and film a reality TV show about the experience this year.

Source: TV Tonight & Herald Sun

Police vest overhaul

Victoria Police have called for tenders for new all-in-one slash, stab and bullet proof vests with better "load bearing" to reduce back injuries. The move to protect officers is seen as important as Police figures show assaults in Melbourne have jumped 41.4 per cent in the past five years to 31,020 in 2006/07.

Source: Herald Sun

22 March, 2008

Alcohol giants impose their own limits

Fosters Group and Lion Nathan have both issued their own guidelines for responsible production and marketing of alcohol products. They will both immediately cease to include energy additives such as guarana and caffeine into their alcohol products, and will limit alcohol content to two standard drinks (20 grams of alcohol) per single serve container.

"High alcohol products are a real problem because when young people seek alcohol they look for the best value for money," said Professor Sandra Jones, director of the Centre for Health Initiatives at the University of Wollongong, who has researched alcohol marketing to young consumers and spoke to Bloomberg concerning the changes.

Source: Bloomberg, Fosters press release & Lion Nathan press release [PDF].

More live music

Following on from a recent increase in copyright fees for licensed music at entertainment venues, The Age is suggesting a "renaissance" of live music at pubs and clubs.

Sydney nightclub co-owner Phil Cawood said "it may completely change the industry ... music cycles last about seven to 10 years. We're on the pale end of the DJ boom - live music may be the next big thing."

Source: The Age

20 March, 2008

Alcohol ad restrictions unworkable

Today is the last day for submissions to the senate inquiry considering restricting TV and radio alcohol advertising to after 9pm. The bill, initiated by Family First senator, Steve Fielding, wants to ban ads aimed at children or link drinking to sexual or financial success, put health warnings on drinks, allow the media regulator to pre-vet ads and restrict Internet-based advertising.

Julian Lee's article for the Sydney Morning Herald quotes executive director of the Advertising Federation of Australia, Mark Champion, who said the current proposal was unworkable as bureaucrats lacked expertise with codes, regulations and the ability to make timely decisions.

Source: Business Daily - Sydney Morning Herald

City of Casey considering bars and clubs

The City of Casey (in Melbourne's south-east) is considering options for its $300 million Main Street redevelopment project, adjacent to Westfield Fountain Gate.

Councillor Lorraine Wreford, chair of Casey's Night Time Entertainment Taskforce, said "the Main Street project will generate some exciting opportunities, but the inclusion of clubs and bars will depend on many factors." She also mentioned the commercial viability of a bar or nightclub would be a major issue for operators.

Ben Clissold, owner of nightlife website MaxMoose, said he had no doubt that bars and pubs would be part of the new development. "There are so many young people from Casey travelling outside the municipality to go out ... people are crying out for more clubs, pubs, bars and dining facilities."

Source: Cranbourne News - Star

New Review: Collins Quarter

Michael Harden reviews the recently renovated Collins Quarter for Epicure.

"There is dark wood, polished boards and upholstered booths in the pub area, a large magnolia tree-sprouting courtyard with a retractable glass roof, two bars - one up (cocktail and champagne) and one down - and an outside seating area in dead-end Pink Alley out the back."

19 March, 2008

Checking on pubs

The Herald Sun has received a tip-off that a special unit of compliance inspectors will this year be hired to work for the liquor section of Consumer Affairs Victoria, formed by the State Government. The Sun states compliance inspectors have not been used for many years, relying on over-worked police to inspect venues.

Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said The Government was considering a number of proposals when contacted by reporters.

Source: Herald Sun

18 March, 2008


The British press are trying to coin a new term for an increasingly common social trend where people skip meals to drink more alcohol whilst maintaining the same calorie intake. They claim dietitians believe there is a link between binge drinking and eating disorders, and it is becoming increasingly prevelant in young people in New York and Britan.

From The Independent:
"The link between alcohol misuse and eating disorders is not a new one. Experts have known about this for more than 40 years", said Ann Fennell, a specialist dietitian in eating disorders. "But we also know that the incidence of anorexia is greater now than it has ever been, and that binge drinking is on the rise. Given that both alcoholism and anorexia have a shared emotional heritage, it's reasonable to speculate about a link", she said.

From the Daily Mail:
Louise Noble, chief dietician at the Berkshire Healthcare Trust, said there was huge pressure on women at university to drink and also look thin. "In my experience, many young women will find the only way they can cope with both is to drink rather than eat, to substitute alcohol for food," she said. ... "I am seeing more girls who want to know how they can cut down their food intake to allow themselves to drink." ... The lack of food in their system ensures they get drunk quicker and raises the risk of them passing out – with all the dangers that entails.

Source: The Independent, Telegraph & Daily Mail

Alcohol advertising under scrutiny

In a five page article for The Age, Julian Lee shows parallels between the current alcohol industry facing advertising restrictions and the tobacco industry of the past. He argues that the alcohol industry denying the link between alcohol advertising and binge drinking is similar to the tobacco industry denying the link between tobacco advertising and cancer.

The article also highlights how Bluetongue Brewery deliberately broke the alcohol industry's self-appointed code on appropriate advertising - as they were not a signatory to the code and were not using television to display their ad for Bondi Blonde. The advertisement in question was accessible on the product's website for two months after it was requested to be removed and continues to be shown on YouTube. It shows the consumption of alcohol whilst engaging in sport and creates a clear connection between consuming Bondi Blonde and having sexual success.

The Bondi Blone ad (

Source: The Age

Fox Sports dropped from 260 pubs

Bruce Mathieson, who owns more than 260 pubs according to the Herald Sun, has cancelled a deal with Foxtel worth more than $5 million a year. He said showing AFL footy games on Foxtel cost each pub more than $20,000 a year, and it had become a question of value. Free-to-air AFL games will continue to be screened at the pubs.

Source: TV Tonight & Herald Sun

480 kegs down

The Herald Sun is reporting how 480 kegs of beer spilled onto the Hume Highway yesterday after a truck, carrying the kegs, rolled. The beer truck's 39 year old male driver was taken to the Alfred Hospital in a stable condition.

Wet house for Footscray?

Maribyrnong Council is consider a "wet house" or "wet park" idea where people with chronic alcohol problems could drink safely, be offered support and be isolated from the rest of the community to minimize fights and civil disobedience. Councilor Michael Clark suggested the idea after visiting a similar project in London.

Cr Michael Clark said "having a wet house provides an environment where there is supervision, and their health and social needs can be attended to rather than just moving them along."

Alcohol policy consultant Mark Boyd said "wet houses" and "wet parks" had been successful overseas. "It's a much more practical response than just burying our heads and pretending it's all going to go away," he said.

Source: The Age

17 March, 2008

Car free Brunswick Street?

Councillor Paul D'Agostino, has put forward a proposal suggesting no cars on Brunswick Street between Alexandra Parade and Johnston Street. The councillor claims "this plan will increase outdoor dining and stop it being an outdoor ghetto for binge drinking." The proposal will go before Yarra Council tomorrow night.

Source: The Age & Herald Sun

More police on streets

Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon has today launched a restructuring of police leave policies which is expected to create more than 10,000 new shifts a year. All shifts would be used for on the street operational duties rather than for administration duties. Ms Nixon said "This will help us get our people out on the street to do the job."

Source: Herald Sun

16 March, 2008

New Bar: Silk Road

Collins Street has gained another classy watering hole according to Deck of Secrets.

"Opting for all-out excess and indulgence, this new, greatly anticipated CBD venue has redefined the notion of 'opulence.' The visually stunning décor includes jaw-dropping chandeliers, onyx bar with LED lighting, classical statues as well as oriental-style dragons and long, lush lounges."

Source: Deck of Secrets & Official website

You can stop the music

Melbourne bars and pubs will have to consider their usage of licensed music after the Federal Court has upheld a decision by the Copyright Tribunal to allow over a 1400% increase in fees that need to be paid by nightclub owners to musicians and record labels. The price a licensed venue owner pays will rise from the previous seven cents to $1.05 (in 2011) per person for every patron allowed into the venue. The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) will stage the increased fees over a period of five years. The current rate is now $0.51 per person, and CPI increases will also apply.

Dance parties have a special rate of $3.07 for each person that attends, and this rate will not be phased in.

Source: PPCA, Federal Court Verdict [PDF] & Australian Financial Review

New Bar: The Palmz

The top of the Carlton Hotel on Bourke Street has been transformed into a new bar with a tropical theme. Up a further flight of stairs and you're at The Palmz. Smokers feel free to rejoice as most of the upstairs balcony has no roofing.

Source: Deck of Secrets

Christine Nixon: More police in CBD

Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon has indicated police presence is to increase on the weekend "witching hours", aiming for "a lot more police officers out at the right time".

Source: Herald Sun

14 March, 2008

St. Pattie's Guide

The Happiest Hour have rounded up 14 St. Partick's Day venues in and around the city. This is the best guide I've seen to Irish pubs on the one day everyone wants to be Irish.

Included are:
The Normandy, Clifton Hill
The Dan O'Connell, Carlton
The Corkman Irish Pub, Carlton
The Quiet Man Pub, Flemington
Father Flanigan's, Collingwood
The Clifton Hill Hotel, Clifton Hill
Limerick Hotel, South Melbourne
Bridie O'Reilly's, Melbourne CBD
Bridie O'Reilly's, South Yarra
Bridie O'Reilly's, Brunswick
PJ O'Brien's, Southbank
Pugg Mahone's, Melbourne CBD
Irish Times, Melbourne CBD
Pugg Marhone's, Carlton

Source: The Happiest Hour St Patrick's Day Blog

New Review: Mother's Milk

Clem Bastow has once again weaved her magic for another Epicure bar review, this time she's at Mother's Milk on Chapel Street, Windsor.

"Mother's Milk (the front bar at least; the decked rear is somewhat more "clean") has one of those fit-outs that doesn't seem to be able to work out whether its vibe is op-shop chic, dilapidated '70s, or leather-lined luxury and instead falls in an odd middle ground between all three."

13 March, 2008

Alcohol banned at video stores

Two years after Movie Paradise in Pascoe Vale South won the right to sell alcohol, the State Government has introduced new laws preventing video stores from being given a liquor license without direct ministerial approval. Movie Paradise is currently the only video store in Victoria with a license, which it obtained when the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) overturned a Liquor Licensing decision refusing to license the store in July 2005. The new laws will not be retroactively introduced, and Movie Paradise can continue to sell alcohol.

Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said research suggested minors exposed to liquor at outlets such as video stores may associate it with family entertainment. The Herald Sun reports he said the new laws would give parents peace of mind.

Let's just hope the kiddies don't see the X-rated adult titles while at the video store - as they might not give parents peace of mind either.

Source: Herald Sun

Who's responsible for the CQ Bar mistake?

The Herald Sun has once again picked up the story about CQ Bar and an expected loss of 5,000 patrons from its license - and who is responsible for the original oversight allowing 7,186 people on to the licensed venue.

The current state of blame?
"The council is blaming Liquor Licensing for the 7186 patron threshold, Liquor Licensing is blaming the council for not objecting in 2003, and Mr Chua is blaming Liquor Licensing for agreeing to too many people for his complex."

Simple, really.

12 March, 2008

Why do people want to get pissed?

In an article heavy on expert opinions, The Age, gives us the views of Professor John Fitzgerald, VicHealth senior research fellow at Melbourne University, who claims his research hasn't nailed one pivotal question: "Why do people want to get pissed?"

It goes on to talk to:
Kate Roffey, VicSport chief executive
Dr Con Stavros, a senior marketing lecturer at RMIT who is a member of the reference group for the Australian Drug Foundation's community alcohol action network
Rob Moodie, professor of global health at the Melbourne University's Nossal Institute
Brendon Gale, AFL Players Association chief executive
Michael Sholly, chief executive of the Victorian Amateur Football Association
Professor Robin Room, a world authority on alcohol policy and acting director of Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
Dr Simon Crisp, a clinical adolescent psychologist from Monash University
David Murray, Youth Substance Abuse Service chief executive

And concludes with this in the second last paragraph:
"One of the major issues alcohol experts believe exacerbates health and social problems is the proliferation of liquor licences. In Victoria there have been two licences granted every day for the past 20 years. Recent research confirmed the link between licences and violence, indicating that every new bottle shop opened in a rural area will lead to 32 assaults, and each new pub in the city will spark 17 domestic violence cases."

11 March, 2008

Moore: Small bars make us civilised

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said laws recently passed to encourage smaller bars in Sydney should also generate a "more civilised drinking regime".

"(The problem) is large venues, it is concentration of young people who have drunk too much alcohol and it is an issue that we need to be very proactive about," she said.

"I'm hoping when the new liquor legislation comes into force ... then we might see a more civilised drinking regime of smaller venues."

Sydney's small bars legislation is based on Melbourne's licensing legislation.


Only sporting clubs?

Professor Wayne Hall from the public health policy unit at the University of Queensland welcomed the recent anti-binge drinking campaigns by the government, whilst highlighting his concerns about trading hours and binge drinking at other licensed venues.
"I think there is a whole culture around binge drinking, particularly in pubs and clubs..." he stated during an interview with Deb Cameron on the ABC.

The Australian Hotel Association's director of national affairs, Bill Healy, rebutted by saying most alcohol is purchased from bottle shops and supermarkets - not pubs and clubs.
"Only 30 per cent of alcohol is consumed in hotels and clubs and other licensed premises... So we've got an issue that's much broader than pointing a finger at one sector of the community."

Source: ABC

Council: No more venues on Chapel Street

Stonnington council mayor Claude Ullin has been reported in the Herald Sun saying:
"I've been consistently against any increase in the license numbers in Chapel Street, because of all the behaviour of people, particular at 1am," Cr Ullin said. "There's no doubt we're over-saturated."

The council backlash has recently caused a 1000-person live music venue to be rejected a liquor license - resulting in the owners appealing to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Also, the council is also taking the owners of Lotus Bar to VCAT this week for contravening their planning permit.

The VCAT results will be posted here as soon as we know them.

Sporting venues told to sober up

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has assigned $53,500,000 to try and combat binge drinking, in particular binge drinking amongst young Australians.

Recent studies found more than 30% of youths aged 13 to 17 had participated in unsupervised drinking at a sports club — and almost three-quarters had never been asked for proof of age. Further, one in 14 sporting club members — and one in eight aged 18 to 20 — drank more than 13 standard drinks every time they went to the club. This is more than double the government's health guidelines on binge drinking for adult men (six standard drinks in one single session).

Where's the money going?
$14.4 million will be assigned to sporting clubs to develop codes of conduct on binge drinking among members.
$19.1 million will be on education and early intervention programs for teenagers, and
$20 million will be on a shock advertising campaign encompassing television, radio and the Internet aimed at highlighting the consequences of binge drinking to young people.

Sources: The Age & Herald Sun

10 March, 2008

Queensland pub owner to fight grog ban

Jeff Bambrick, owner of Burketown Pub, is taking the Queensland Government to court over its liquor licensing laws restricting the sale of alcohol in indigenous communities. The laws prevent him from selling cask wine and limit him to selling two beer cartons per vehicle per day. He claims these laws are destroying his business and he should not be penalised by the laws.

"We understand that there's problems in the community and we support the restrictions in trying to manage that but restricting the pubs isn't the way to do it," he said.

Source: Herald Sun & ABC

Minessota's 'theatre nights' bypass smoking bans

What do the names "Before the Ban" and "The Tobacco Monologues" have in common? They're both being used to describe themed theatre nights in Minessota bars - exploiting a loop hole in a smoking ban introduced last October that allows cigarettes to be puffed in thatrical productions.

Health departments and state authorities are not amused.

Source: BBC and Guardian.

09 March, 2008

New Review: Lotus

Clem Bastow has just reviewed South Yarra's Lotus Bar for The Age's Epicure bar guide.

The review is just as much about her experience at a "Single & Sexy" over-28s night, and brilliantly captures her first impressions of the bar.

The Epicure summary for Lotus:
"You never know what you will find when you visit South Yarra institution Lotus."

New Bar: The Boiler Room at Abbotsford Convent

Deck of Secrets reported on the 5th of the opening of a new licensed venue, The Boiler Room, on the Abbotsford Convent site (which is currently under restoration and being rebuilt as an arts precinct).

They've provided a succinct review which states; "Open from 12pm til about dusk, Friday to Sunday, this is the place for a quiet afternoon ale rather than all night bender but few places can boast a bigger beer garden."

We'd also like to point out it's quite common for some relaxed live music here too - and with a variety of local artists all around, is there a better way to spend a sunny afternoon?

Suzie Wilks recommends Cicciolina

In a recent "Hot In The City" photo special for the Herald Sun, Suzie Wilks shows off five of her favourite Melbourne spots. The only bar within the list happened to be Cicciolina in St. Kilda, with Suzie saying:
The atmosphere is wonderful. I love the European feel of it. It's very casual, but it has warmth. I really enjoy drinks and dinner in the right atmosphere, sharing food and wine is one of my favourite things to do.

08 March, 2008

CQ Bar cuts liquor license by 5000 people

The CQ Bar has had its alcohol license lowered from allowing 7186 people, to only 2150 at one time. The move by Melbourne City Council was supported by the bar's owner, Harry Chua. Mr Chua said the maximum number of patrons was never reached, claiming to normally only have 1000 to 1300 people at the nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights at any one time. Source: Hearld Sun

New York-style crime stoppers

The Herald Sun is reporting the Victorian police will adopt a New York-style mobile command truck and a police operation centre to combat anti-social behaviour in the CBD. Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Overland said the mobile command prime mover, to be stationed at the corner of Swanston and Flinders streets on Saturday and Sunday night, could accommodate up to 50 officers.

Never without a glass in hand?

This little gem of a quote is from an opion piece in the Herald Sun by Christopher Bantick about Melbourne's heart lost in booze:
And in Paris in 1890, French writer Oscar Comettant noted: "There is not a town in the world where they drink as much as Melbourne. They are never without a glass in the hand."

Setting boundaries for youth

The Age has a great article for parents of teenagers on potential responses to underage drinking.

Police blitzing bingers

This weekend police are running a blitz this weekend concentrating on street offences, underage drinking and public drunkenness. The Age is reporting Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Overland as saying the public should consider: having a summit to discuss youth substance abuse, violence and antisocial behaviour; ensuring parents take more responsibility for the actions of their teenagers; introducing tougher laws to charge adults, including parents, who buy alcohol for under-age drinkers; and beginning a long-term campaign to change social attitudes to public drunkenness. Mr Overland claims there is a "series of complex social issues" underpinning the increase in Melbourne violence, and it is too easy to blame young partygoers.

While clinical psychologist Dr Simon Crisp at Monash University says the state government should consider raising the legal drinking age to twenty-one years of age.

06 March, 2008

Britain's 24-hour drinking causing an increase in violence

In the three years after the 2005 introduction of more relaxed drinking laws in Britan, there has been an overall 4% increase in crimes reported between 3am and 6am, the Herald Sun reports. British Culture Secretary Andy Burnham claimed this was most likely a result of drink-fuelled offences.

The softer drinking laws were enacted to try and stop a rapidly increasing alcohol-related death rate - 6.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991 increased to 12.9 deaths per 100,000 people by 2005. The laws have seen a "slight fall" in the nation's overall alcohol consumption since 2005, but concern about an embedded binge drinking culture remain.

05 March, 2008

Development north of Melbourne CBD approved

The Herald Sun is reporting State Planning Minister Justin Madden has approved Grocon's propsal for the old Carlton Brewery site on Swanston Street. The $800 million project will feature five distinct buildings, including a 66-storey tower on the corner of Bouverie and Victoria streets. The old Carlton Bewery bluestone wall will be retained, and integrated into the development. The project is expected to begin by the end of the year.

The project does not encompass The Queensbury Hotel also located on the same block.

Further information can be found within this Grocon Report.

New Toorak live music venue - may open mid-year

Michael Gudinski and business partners are appealing the Stonnington Council decision to not give their new live music venue a planning permit. The Age reports they are now taking the matter up with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The new venue, currently unnamed, is on the same site as the Lion Hotel Toorak and is capable of holding about 1000 patrons. The group is seeking a liquor licence enabling it to serve alcohol until 5am at weekends.

The Age reports Gudinski as saying the new venue would be "Melbourne's premier mid-sized live music venue" and would compete with the Prince Bandroom (St. Kilda), The Forum (Melbourne) and the Palace (Melbourne) for local and international acts.

04 March, 2008

Too many Melbourne venues?

In a recent editorial, The Age editors argue for a need to investigate Melbourne's nightlife culture and its increasinly violent nature. The article cites recent freedom of information statistics showing a doubling of crimes against individuals throughout 12 Victorian outer-suburban and regional municipalities, and attempts to link this to alcohol-related violence within the CBD.

Apart for this seemingly dubious usage of statistics, the article brings up some very interesting information; the Australian Hotels Association (the nightlife industry's lobby group) has called for a freeze on all new bars and nightclubs in Melbourne's centre; and a senior policeman refers to the CBD's party precincts as "alcohol-fuelled bedlam".

The editorial also cites a 594% increase in liquor licences across the state in the past two decades. Have the reforms started in 1988 fueled a binge drinking culture or have they promoted a more European, civilised style of drinking? With recent news of Sydney trying to imitate Melbourne's liquor licensing laws surely things aren't as bad as The Age suggests?