Sri Lankan best friends Sam Silva and Indy Weerakoon have converted a struggling nightclub into successful Collingwood bar and restaurant Sixty Smith, despite enduring three lockdowns in its opening months, writes Dan Hughes for Bars and Clubs.

In September 2019, the best friends decided to transform Sam’s struggling nightclub (formally Blue Velvet Bar & Nightclub) into a bar, with the sole purpose of delivering top service to its visitors without it costing patrons “an arm and a leg”.

The Sixty Smith co-owners combine Sam’s 25 years of experience in hospitality and Indy’s love for food and drinks to launch the bar in November last year. However, the three lockdowns Victoria has experienced in that time have prevented the bar from gaining popularity in the community.

Bars and Clubs recently spoke with Sam and Indy to chat about how they nearly closed the bar but thankfully chose to endure.

Indy said: “Everything we wanted is exactly what we have here and every week it’s pleasing to see our growing customer base. Which is the best feeling, we take a lot of pride with our repeat customers.

“The most difficult thing is getting people to come in. The front of the venue is deceiving from what’s inside. We have incredible drinks, a restaurant that makes really amazing food with four different rooms.”

Sam added: “Getting the name out there is difficult, for people to know who you are and what you’re doing. This place has changed hands a few times so I think there’s a bit of distrust and unfamiliarity from the customer.

“In February and March this year we were questioning ourselves, it was difficult with little foot traffic coming through the door. By mid-march however, we thankfully started getting more in.”

For the full story, head to Bars and Clubs.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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