BY JOHN MOYLE
Sydney’s inner city Darlinghurst is the scene of a culture war as residents say ‘no’ to men’s magazine Penthouse’s proposal to open a small licensed bar in their office headquarters at 210-212 Crown Street.
The $1.5 million bar is to be called ‘Gucciones’ after Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione, and will boast a crystal bar and a rose-gold quilted ceiling.
Seeing red, and not the roses, residents raised 12 objections to the City of Sydney when Penthouse lodged their DA.
“The proposal was categorised as a low impact premises, assessed on its individual merits and found to satisfy planning requirements,” City of Sydney spokesperson said.
The DA is for licensed premises with a limit of 50 patrons trading between 12pm and 10pm, with a one-year trial of midnight closing, conditional that the venue does not detrimentally impact on residential neighbours.
“The residents don’t believe that it is an operation that will add anything to the community and neighbourhood, and it is an intensification of an entertainment venue in a place that was not previously an entertainment venue,” Jane Anderson, secretary, East Sydney Neighbourhood Association said.
Adelaide born publisher of the Australian edition of Penthouse said “There are a lot of small bars and coffee shops in the area that is zoned residential, and we are zoned a mixed use premises, but I wasn’t surprised when residents came out against us.”
When asked how many licensed bars are in the area, Ms Anderson replied, “I don’t know.”
The nearest pubs to the club’s corner site are the East Village on Palmer Street and the Lord Roberts on Stanley Street, both a few hundred metres from the location of the proposed bar.
Crown Street and Riley Street have a number of small bars that have been operating for years without major incidents.
Meanwhile, residents cite a childcare centre located some 100 metres from the club as another reason for objecting, but it is unlikely that club patrons are going to impact on children who are at home by 4pm watching Dora the Explorer.
“It will add to noise, to traffic and to garbage, it is not a positive thing to add,” Jane Anderson said.
“We went through an excruciating process to get the approvals and the residents need to take that into account,” Damien Costas said.
It must be noted that all of these issues have been addressed in the DA to the City of Sydney.
“They might have met all the DA requirements on paper, but we will have to wait until they start trading to see if they meet them in practice,” Jane Anderson said.
The Darlinghurst area of Sydney has already undergone many changes in the last twenty or so years, with many residential buildings being repurposed into restaurants and small bars, or the more recent trend, hipster hairdressings shops.
This bar proposal is just another low impact use of a space that has probably drawn as much attention for its name as anything else
“I’ll be popping in myself to see the rose-quilted ceiling and crystal bar,” Jane Anderson said.