The alfresco area at Cobram's Bottom Pub, known as The Palms, will be relaunched on Friday night after an eight-month closure.RIAHN SMITH December 11, 2013 4:30am
The Bottom Pub owner Ryan Dopper and managers Jasmine Smith and Shelley Wilson are looking forward to relaunching the hotel's outdoor area after it was forced to close in March.
The Bottom Pub’s alfresco dining area will reopen on Friday, eight months after it was closed because of road safety fears.
Publican Ryan Dopper was forced to cease trading on a section of land along Warkil St in March after land-owner VicRoads raised concerns about traffic exiting the Mookarii St roundabout.
Mr Dopper told the Courier the palmed area had been used for the past six years under a local laws permit before VicRoads staff approached him and said the permit was not valid and he could not use the land without installing safety barriers.
Last week, Mr Dopper said the mis-communication between local government and the roads authority had cost him about $50
He said obtaining a new permit and sourcing and installing the required safety bollards was a challenging experience.
‘‘I approached council and they helped me find some railing in Tungamah to use, but VicRoads said they didn’t want that and sent an engineer to assess the area,’’ Mr Dopper said.
‘‘I’ve done a lot of work myself, too, so it’s been hard.
‘‘I’ve never had to do any development work, planning or roadworks, but I couldn’t afford to pay someone $80 an hour to be a project manager and do it all for me.’’
Mr Dopper said it had been a tough eight months for the business.
‘‘Our day trade has been almost non-existent. It’s especially hard being a bit out of town, we don’t have gaming, we don’t have a TAB to get the punters in, so we really do rely on families coming out for lunch and playing in the kids’ room,’’ he said.
‘‘It also hit hard on those key weekends like Anzac Day long weekend, and Melbourne Cup when we usually have the Cobram Trots afterparty with music going on outside.
‘‘This year there was no-one here, the numbers were down, and the only thing that had changed with my business was not having that area.’’
But as the summer festive season kicked into gear, Mr Dopper said things were looking up.
He said new chef Rebecca Alessi, formerly of the Barooga Sporties, took charge of the kitchen two months ago and had made some exciting changes.
‘‘We’ve got a new chef, a new menu and we’ll be having live acoustic music,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re introducing sushi platters on Friday — we’ve been wanting to do that for a while, there’s no-one else who does that in town.
‘‘I’m looking forward to coming to work in the morning and having people coming in the door again.
‘‘It’s a great atmosphere in the summer, we’re working towards getting things back to where they were.’’
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