By Stefanie Collins, editor b&c
Popular Melbourne music venue, Shebeen is reportedly being forced to close after pressure from a neighbouring CBD police station.
The not-for-profit bar and band venue announced that it will be shutting its doors on 25 June, despite having gigs booked through until at least September.
In a public statement owner Simon Griffiths has pointed to a range of issues with Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) as well as pressure from the police as the impetus for the closure.
“Over the last 12 months it has become apparent that the wall of our band room is shared with the Melbourne East Police Station's sleeping quarters. As a result we have received significant pressure from the police and the VCGLR, and we received an infringement notice from the VCGLR which we have unsuccessfully appealed,” he wrote.
Shebeen hit the news three years ago when it opened as Australia’s first not-for-profit bar and café. The Manchester Lane venue has a 1am licence on Thursdays and a 3am licence Fridays and Saturdays.
Despite the claim by the owners, a spokesperson for the VCGLR told triple j earlier this week that they had “not received any noise complaints relating to [Shebeen] in the last two years”.
Instead the infringement seems to be in regard to the use of the licence, which VCGLR says is a restaurant and cafe licence, and the selling of alcohol in a manner that is not permitted by its licence.
“An infringement notice of this nature does not cancel or suspend a liquor licence and the decision to close the venue was not made by the VCGLR, it appears to be a business decision.”