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    « Bayswater Road's public transport trial | Main | Grub's off »

    Buns n Balls upstumps

    Music and meatballs strike the wrong note with liquor authorities ... The "knock-on" effect from new alcohol restrictions ... Buns n Balls leaves Kings Cross and heads for the beach ... Anita Senaratna reports 

    Bayswater Road is a notoriously unlucky spot for new restaurants, with Concrete Blonde, Janus and Bayswater Diner (among others) all shutting up shop not long after opening despite positive reviews from the likes of Terry Durack.

    However, recent casualty Buns & Balls probably might have broken the curse if it hadn't been for the knock-on effect flowing from the new licensing laws.

    On February 2, the Kings Cross bar, restaurant and live music venue shut it's doors for good citing as the reason for its departure, "increased pressure and proposed restrictions from the NSW Government".

    Owner Gary Linz - who also owns the Lil Darlin group in Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Randwick - intends to relocate Buns & Balls to the eastern beaches. 

    Linz told Postcode2011

    "If you'd been there on a Friday or Saturday, you'd see that the business was busy and operating well. It wasn't a declining business. If anything, it was on its way up." 

    Buns & Balls operated under a restaurant license and it would not have been affected directly by 1:30am lockouts and 3am last drinks.

    Nonetheless, Linz said there were definitely "knock-on" effects that led to his decision to relocate. 

    "We were operating much more as a restaurant than a bar, but when the new laws [were announced], that's when the crackdown came and they said 'Okay, now you need to operate exactly as a restaurant'. 

    It's not directly as a result of the laws, it's the result of the knee-jerk reaction from the laws and  a stricter enforcement of the license. There's always an over-reaction to public pressure and that's what I believe has happened." 

    He said that conflict arose from the fact that Buns & Balls played louder music than was acceptable for a restaurant, had people standing on the balcony area outside, and - perplexingly - its burgers (buns) and meatballs (balls) were not considered to be substantial enough meals. 

    According to the the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, on-premises licenses for restaurants seem to be fairly flexible, with no set definitions as to what constitutes acceptable food, seating or music. 

    Buns n Ball - heading for the beach

    Linz also mentioned his application for later trading hours and been denied, despite offering to stop serving alcohol after midnight. 

    "We wanted to be a refuge for people who just wanted to come have a bite and non-alcoholic drinks." 

    Despite the setbacks, Linz is happy with what he achieved at his Kings Cross venue, and is confident people will follow Buns & Balls to its new location.

    "The fact is, we've got a big following, we've got a good price, great music, we've never had one incident of anything, so we will be looking for a place where people can stand, where we can play music at a reasonable level, and where the license will be a more appropriate.

    Consistently people said 'we never wanted to leave Buns & Balls, we went out to other clubs and the night always' - in their words - 'turned to shit'.

    We put a lot of work into our play-lists, burgers, cocktails and artwork. We had some very creative people helping us and that's what made the brand. Hopefully, we'll move into a site that has that same vibe." 

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