A bold planning proposal has been submitted to council to build an oversized wine cask on Watsonia Road: code-named the “Watsy Wine Cask”. Reportedly intended to built on the site of the former newsagency, it’s believed that permits have also been sought to make the unique venue our long-awaited wine bar.
Seemingly attempting to emulate the beloved Eltham Barrel, the Watsy Wine Cask would serve the dual purpose of providing a suitable venue for locals to enjoy a quiet drink, as well as drawing visitors to our wonderful region. The double storey building is expected to include a fully operational bar on the ground floor, with the option of either fitting the first floor with unit-style accommodation and/or office space.
If approved, the visionary proposal would bring an end to years of speculation and yearning for a local wine bar, a gap in the market first highlighted by The Watsonia Bugle over two years ago. The unique design would also pay homage to a beverage container style that has played a humble yet integral role in Australian households for decades.
According to one of the architects behind the design, the multifaceted nature of the building would make it an instant landmark in the local area. Darren Leonard said, “Australia has long had an obsession with big things: bananas, pineapples, drinking problems. So, this kind of taps into that psyche in our classic self-deprecating style.”
Leonard also claimed that the multi-purpose venue has the potential to create multiple revenue streams for any potential investors. He said, “There already seems to be a groundswell of support for the wine bar on the ground floor. The first floor could then be rented out as office space. And the exterior of the building could be sold to a winery that wants to promote their cask range on what could become one of the area’s most prominent buildings. That kind of exposure would be invaluable.”
While current social distancing regulations have struck the hospitality industry very hard, Leonard claims that by the time this proposal gets approval, and the construction is complete, people should be able to congregate in larger numbers. As Leonard said, “These kinds of things take a lot of time. So, even if this gets approved, it will still take a while to build – especially an ambitious project such as this. I wouldn’t say we could be sipping a wine in that giant box before Christmas, but it’d be nice to think we could be opening the doors before the end of next summer.”