‘It’s positive and people are going out’

As we enter the last month of 2020, and enjoy the first day of summer, things are starting to look positive according Big Poppa’s, The Lobo, Bartolo Wine Room and Kittyhawk owner Jared Merlino.

Speaking to Bars and Clubs as he reopens his third venue since lockdown, Bartolo Wine Room, Jared said trade at the two venues he had open, Big Poppa’s and The Lobo was going well.

“It’s been really positive across the businesses we’ve got open,” Jared said.

“Big Poppa’s and Lobo are trading strong, obviously still inside of restrictions, but they are trading strong. People are out, they are spending but they are doing it safely which is the most encouraging thing.

“You only have to tell a handful of people a night to sit down or check-in and what not. Everyone’s in the rhythm now which is encouraging. That’s probably the most encouraging thing at the moment: it is all going well and we are able to get another venue open and at least ready for December.”

He added: “It’s looking good. The general consensus in the industry and among the other owners at the moment is that it’s all positive, and hopefully we’ve just got to keep doing well and rolling these restrictions back as soon as possible.”

With Bartolo reopening last weekend and The Lobo and Big Poppa’s doing well, it just leaves Kittyhawk as the only venue that Jared has yet to reopen, and while he said he’s keen to reopen the bar, timing is crucial.

“We really do hope we can get Kittyhawk open as soon as possible, but given the timeline now. We’re only a month out from Christmas and we generally shut Kittyhawk down around that time for two-to-three weeks, and then January is usually very quiet in that part of the city.

“So we’re just going keep looking at when and how is going to be the best time reopen. It’s just such a large venue and we’ve been shut for so long that we need to rebuild the whole team now from the ground up. That’s going to be another challenge but that is going to be exciting.

“Mary, who’s my two-i-c across Lobo and Kittyhawk and she is eager and ready to go, we’ve just got to find and fill the positions at the top like the Bar Manager and then try roll it out. It’s just a matter of when the best time is to do that really.

“So we’re probably looking at early next year, most likely early February when we’ll be ready to reopen.

“We’d normally see that area getting busy just after Australia Day, but who knows with COVID, whether it’s going to be the same next year.”

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