In New York’s East Village, at the back of the famed hot dog joint Crif Dogs, you can walk into an old fashioned phone booth and, with the press of a button, gain access to a secret speakeasy called Please Don’t Tell.
Likewise, in Sydney – which has well and truly embraced the global trend for speakeasies and secret drinking holes in recent years – all manner of establishments can be found behind Thai restaurants, barbershops and dim dead-end alleyways.
And now, Wollongong could soon have its own secret bar – to be called the Black Cockatoo – which is planning to conceal itself behind a proposed new gelato shop on Kembla Street.
According to plans on display through Wollongong City Council, the Black Cockatoo will take over the site of vintage shop Something for Doris, next to wine-and-cheese small bar, The Throsby.
At the front of the store, a kiosk-style gelato shop – which really will sell ice-cream – will act as a facade to the bar behind.
According to the proponents, the drinking hole will be fitted out in an old-fashioned Australian pub style.
“It intends to specialise in the service of quality Australian beer and cocktails along with eclectic of Australian favourites such as oysters, pies and pavlova,” the application says.
“The rear bar area is to be accessed via a concealed door way that will either appear as a nondescript door or have the appearance of wall finish with a hidden doorway.”
The tiny bar will be capable of holding just 25 patrons at a time, serving “both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with a focus on Australian beers and cocktails”.
The rear bar area is to be accessed via a concealed door way that will either appear as a nondescript door or ... hidden doorway.
The Black Cockatoo is proposed to open from 6pm to 2am, Thursday to Saturday, while the gelato shop facade would be open Monday to Sunday, from noon to 10pm.
In asking for the council’s permission, the proponents say their unique venture will align with the council’s vision for the CBD.
“This type of business concept (secret bar) is understood to be reasonably unique offering ... and one that is intended to complement and support the surrounding night trading within the immediate area and wider CBD,” they say.