It’s a sad week for southside sippers, with the so-called closure of beloved South Yarra dive bar Sweetwater Inn scheduled for October 17. But fans of the quirky Australiana party shed need not cry into their tinnies for too long, with the owners scouring both sides of the river for a new location to unload their 40-foot container of Sweetwater goodness.
That’s right, the bar will be relocated, lock, stock and rustic beer barrels, to a yet-to-be decided venue. According to co-owner Guy Bentley, the location’s important, but the space is key. “Sweetwater’s a unique venue, it’s kind of like a shed, so it’s hard to find somewhere that suits.”
I know what you’re wondering, Listers. With a recipe that so clearly struck a chord with thirsty locals and curious northsiders alike, why move?
The closure is due to that double-edged sword #progress, with a new apartment block set to be built on the site. It’s something the Sweetwater team knew about when they opened two-and-a-half years ago, but weren’t too phased with as they were still trying to figure out “if we could build a bar that worked,” says Guy.
They needn’t have worried. The truly unique drinkery, with its Aussie outback vibe—in part due to the corrugated iron, rusted farm tools, animal skulls and leather-clad, beared bikie clientele—but more so the good ol’ fashioned approach to hospitality, really shook up the South Yarra drinking scene and hatcheted its way into Melburnians hearts, one rissole sanga at a time.
As for closing night itself, “We want all our regulars and people who’ve had a good time at Sweetwater to come and enjoy the last night,” says Guy. “We’re trying to keep it pretty low-key, which is not going to happen, but we’re not going over the top.”
There’ll be DJs, drinks specials and possibly a few tears. Bacardi will be manning a bar on the sundeck serving frozen slushies, so that should help ease the pain.
For now, Guy and his cohorts Mark Catsburg and Benn Wood want to say a heartfelt thank you to the loyal customers who’ve been along on the Sweetwater ride.
Watch this space for news on Sweetwater Inn 2.0. Meanwhile, you’ll have to get your kitsch fix at nearby sister venue, Leonard’s House of Love.
Keen to sample one of Melbourne's best bars? Check out 33 Bars You Should've Been To In Melbourne.
Image credit: The Urban List