Liquor licence deluge in Ballarat's north

FOODIES: Elise and Sam Rowe will open The Hydrant cafe, on McKenzie Street, between Armstrong Street and Creswick Road. It is one of five liquor licence requests currently before Ballarat City Council. Picture: Jeremy Bannister
FOODIES: Elise and Sam Rowe will open The Hydrant cafe, on McKenzie Street, between Armstrong Street and Creswick Road. It is one of five liquor licence requests currently before Ballarat City Council. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

A deluge of liquor licence applications have been made for cafes and restaurants in Ballarat City’s northern suburbs.

Ballarat City Council currently has five applications for new or varied licences for venues located north of Sturt Street.

One application will see a heritage warehouse on McKenzie Street converted into an 80-seat cafe.

Nearby cafes Inexterior Coffee Lounge on Mair Street and Webster’s Market Cafe have also applied for new liquor licences.

Finally the North Ballarat Sports Club has applied to extend its alcohol service area to its new alfresco dining area, and a liquor licence application was also submitted by the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

The new McKenzie Street cafe was the brain child of Elise and Sam Rowe, with the pair hoping to open on December 15.

Named The Hydrant Cafe in honour of the building’s origin as a fire hydrant shop in the 50s, it sits between Armstrong Street and Creswick Road.

Mrs Rowe said it was Ballarat was fast becoming a food destination for residents and visitors alike.

“Ballarat is definitely moving forward with population, jobs and family security,” she said.

“The town is moving forward with its tourism, we are attracting lot of people here.

“There are places in the Ballarat food industry doing things really well, which has created a good vibe, because people are looking for something new, something differed.”

As part of its redevelopment into a cafe, The Hydrant has maintained all the heritage features of the original building.

Mr Rowe said the couple plan for the space to have an “outdoor” feel inside its walls, to combat the cold Ballarat winters that often make alfresco eating impossible.

“Everyone loves to eat outside, but Ballarat is really too cold for that,” he said.

“We will have foliage inside… the piping inside is all original.

“We are paying homage to that story and original building.”

The Hydrant will sell modern Australian cafe food and stock the popular 7 Seeds coffee beans for people looking for a caffeine hit.

The eatery will add to the already thriving food scene centred on Armstrong and Lydiard streets.

Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh said the Ballarat food industry had become a maturing market that provided broad options to the community.

“It suggests a great deal of confidence from the business community,” she said.

“It talks a lot to the vibrancy and activity that is moving into our CBD and surrounds.

“We hope to see a rejuvenated CBD, Bakery Hill precinct and we have started working the Main Road area.”