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Life finally coming to unloved lanes

Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Author: Melissa Mack, Indaily

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THE long-awaited transformation of Adelaide's west end laneways is about to take off in earnest, with the State Government finalising plans to rejuvenate Bank Street and the private sector planning apartments, cafes, bars, retail and office space in previously unloved Peel Street.

A new small bar, Clever Little Tailor, will soon open on Peel Street - a quiet lane of mostly empty buildings between Hindley and Currie streets.

Plans are afoot to connect Peel Street with neighbouring Leigh Street, which has surged in popularity following its closure to traffic at the end of July.

Clever Little Tailor is the next project of Coffee Branch's Josh Baker, whose unique style of business has attracted a diverse and loyal crowd to Leigh Street.

Despite the lacklustre black windows outside, inside the split level space has white-painted brick walls with a sense of potential and energy.

"We will be a small bar, not a wine bar, for an everyday drinker and are just doing some unique tap beer, micro-brewery stuff, really nice wines and classic spirits," Baker said.

"Good quality, high end drinks, but simple."

The capacity of Clever Little Tailor will be up to 60 people and Baker is aiming to be open before the festival season next year, building on the sense of community he has developed through Coffee Branch.

"You can go have a drink before dinner or come there for the night or come after dinner; everyone is welcome all the time," he said.

Despite Baker's plans falling in line with moves by the government and Adelaide City Council to encourage a new 'small bar' culture in Adelaide, he has already encountered some opposition.

Union Hotel owner Piers Schmidt has objected to the bar's application for a special circumstances licence.

"That type of licence is not appropriate for the venue as they can apply for another kind of licence such as an entertainment licence," Schmidt said.

"The special circumstances licence is a more valuable and more flexible licence than the hotel licence and so as a general rule hoteliers are against those licences because we have millions invested in our hotels and the licencing is deliberatively restrictive in that regard."

However, Australian Hotels Association president Ian Horne said that the body had "no concerns" with applications like Clever Little Tailor which fit the Melbourne style hole-in-the-wall type business.

"Our great fear is that when people talk about small bars they mean a capacity of 120 people and we call those taverns, but this one genuinely seems to fit into that criteria which the AHA supports," Horne said.

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