We were interested to read in last week’s Alt Media that The Standard music venue at Taylor Square was about to downsize its live entertainment roster and install a four-lane bowling alley, whilst still keeping some music on board. Given the recent closure of a number of well-known music clubs like Blue Beat and Notes, it’s an ‘innovation’ that should not be taken lightly.
The idea, of course, is not a new one and the venue acknowledges that the inspiration came from the legendary Brooklyn Bowl in New York. The U.S. is home to a number of these rock’n’bowl-style venues with New Orleans’s Mid City Lanes (aka the Rock’n’Bowl) equally as famous as its New York counterpart. New Orleans in particular has led the way with these kinds of dual-purpose venues and for many years uptown’s iconic Maple Leaf Bar featured a fully functional laundromat.
It was not unusual for punters to arrive on any weeknight, complete with a big bag of dirty washing. As the aroma of soapsuds drifted throughout the bar you could while away an hour listening to the likes of pianist James Booker, whilst your undies bounced around merrily in the spin cycle.
Whether we will ever encounter a combined music/laundromat venue in Sydney remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting concept that needs to be explored – indeed the whole idea of multipurpose live music venues makes a great deal of sense, given the tenuous nature of the current live music scene. Already we have seen initiatives such as Glebe’s Record Crate – a restaurant/bar/record shop/comedy club/live music venue – that rolls it all into one very cosy all-purpose establishment.
The greater Sydney area is now home to a plethora of small bars, all competing for the fickle small bar dollar and reaching a point of almost saturation. Whilst their proliferation is most welcome they may well need to look at diversification in the near future, as $15 cocktails become harder to unload and their overall novelty wears off.
We see no reason why many of these funky small bars could not become agents for Australia Post, offering a limited number of after hours services with jiffy bags and mailing boxes sharing the shelves with the usual imported beers. Dog grooming, yoga classes, video rentals, mini golf and a night spa could all be added, given available space, and an inclusion that would not detract from the normal intimate atmosphere.
Naturally our very progressive Sydney City Council would have to expand bar licenses to allow an almost endless range of additional commercial ventures but we can easily see the once low-key neighbourhood bar becoming the community’s all-inclusive one-stop shop. The laundromat addition is certainly worth immediate consideration with the motto that cleanliness is next to grooviness. Imagine a small bar/laundromat happy hour where you could get a bag wash, imported beer of your choice and a plate of tapas all for $20 with free valet parking for your Vespa. Bring it on we say!