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Thread: Bar Pigalle- a photojournal type thing.

  1. #1
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Bar Pigalle- a photojournal type thing.

    I've got a feeling this is going to be the site of a lot of photography for me over the next few years so I'm giving it it's own thread.

    So as I mentioned over in the Coronavirus thread my girlfriend and I have been working on opening a bar/restaurant/dance studio/function space. The virus and Australia's new Hermit Kingdom Status made shooting my porno impossible so our energies got diverted into this instead.

    We got the lease on a property that had hosted the same business for the last 30 years. A cheese cafe that had become a Melbourne landmark. They got kicked out when they couldn't pay their rent leaving everything behind- including their books which show a 3 million dollar debt so no wonder they got kicked out.

    We had just under two months to turn this 800 square metre space into what we wanted it to be. It started looking like this:



    The big cheese room on the side was a massive hassle. It was a fully refridgerated room with horribly heavy thick metal walls and a cooling system that ran right up through the building and out the ceiling. Worse the cooling system had destroyed the floors as well. We got in a few Big Men with Big Tools and a few days later it looked like this:



    When I was in there last night it looked like this:



    So now we have a stage. Doesn't look like much right now but in a few days time there will be diners in here.

    On the other side of the building there's this wall:



    A white wall definitely doesn't fit our aesthetic so the decision was made to remove the paint from it. BIG mistake. This walls been here for 140 years and in that time it's been given a lot of coats of paint and, annoyingly, even a few layers of wallpaper. Various methods have been tried but in the end we've found that really the only way to get through it is to get in there with a scrpaer and chisel it out bit by bit. I've spent maybe 6 hours on it myself. Fortunately we have tons of volunteers coming into help out. Most days the venue looks like this:



    Upstairs things are going faster. Reception loks pretty schmick in a tacky, home made, glamour sort of way.



    We were lucky we had one studio that barely needs any work because it came like this:



    It's being done into a horribly tasteless all pink room that we're calling the Mansfield Room. I think when it's done it will be the kind of place Jayne would have been comfortable in.



    Then there's this fucking room...



    Remember when I said the previous owners got locked out and so left everything behind? Well this is the room that that really starts to tell. At first we thought it was a boon. We'll sell the furniture and the 6 foot tall safe and make some dollars to help cover some costs. No dice. Turns out no one wants a huge amount of 90s furniture. People do want the safe but no one wants to arrange to have it removed from the second floor a building.

    Do you know how much it costs to get a 6 foot tall safe down a flight of stairs? Bear in mind it weighs a literal shitton. $2000! Haven't done that yet. I do wonder how they fuck they got it up there.... And why? Turns out there's not much point to a safe. One of our volunteers cracked it in 5 minutes. There was $400 inside. Yesterday I supervised the removal of the furniture. Another $1600. This shit is definitely not cheap.

    Which is stressful. We got knocked back for our bank loan- after we were committed to the project- for the stupidest reason imaginable. They said that they could only calculate our potential earnings based on our past income. On the other hand our costs would all be based on our new costs. Our point, we're opening an all new restaurant and bar and performance venue. We expect that might just add to the gross incomings. Didn't compute. So the whole thing is being done on the smell of an oily rag.

    Downstairs we have this The Shining type kitchen:


    We haven't done anything with this yet. We already have a commercial kitchen upstairs so this just sits down there being weird and creepy. it's a maze down there with electrical cabling and circuit boards everywhere. We've had an electrician down there for weeks and we're still only beginning to piece it together. It's intimidating stuff. Big circuit boards with danger signs wrapped round them and we have no idea what they do.

    But it's coming together, and we open on Friday so it's going to have to all get done. Last week for the first time I walked out the back and had a view of the place from the rear. It was a lightbulb moment for me. No fucking wonder it's so much. Look at the fucking size of it.



    All of that's ours. Time will tell if that a wise move or not.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  2. #2
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Wow, good luck. I saw your posts in the Covid thread but these pictures really do demonstrate the scale of this undertaking. It's quite a massive project!
    Rock! Shock! Pop!

  3. #3
    That's exciting. Turn that post into a piece for your local alt paper and you've got some primo promo.

    The traditional way of moving a safe downstairs remains the best. Also works for pianos, anvils, and 16 ton weights.


  4. #4
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry M View Post
    That's exciting. Turn that post into a piece for your local alt paper and you've got some primo promo.

    The traditional way of moving a safe downstairs remains the best. Also works for pianos, anvils, and 16 ton weights.

    This thought had occured.

    Downstairs is really calling out for me to write some kind of tortureporn horror movie. I dig it. I also dig how camera phones treat these kind of low light enviroments. Only got an exit sign to light your scene? Samsungs got your back.





    Would you believe we haven't passed our health inspection for food safety yet. Damn they set some high standards:



    We have however done a very soft opening for drinkers. There's still plastic on the windows. There's not one ounce of decoration on the walls or on the bar. But people are getting drunk. So that's something.

    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  5. #5
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Art.

    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  6. #6
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Glad you're at least getting some customers already!
    Rock! Shock! Pop!

  7. #7
    Very best of luck with your new venture Dom.

    From my POV here in the UK, the sight of people sitting close together chatting & drinking at tables, sans masks, feels like some kind of far-out science fictional insanity at this point.

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    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BW Haggar View Post
    Very best of luck with your new venture Dom.

    From my POV here in the UK, the sight of people sitting close together chatting & drinking at tables, sans masks, feels like some kind of far-out science fictional insanity at this point.
    Indeed. Having done 7 months of hard don't-leave-yer-house lockdown it felt surreal the first time out. Once you get a couple drinks in you though you soon forget that feeling of abnormality.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  9. #9
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jane View Post
    Glad you're at least getting some customers already!
    The real opening is not till Friday week. On these nights we were just letting some of our students roam to test our Point Of Sales systems (such an unfortunate acronym for those) and bar staff. Odd finding that hadn't occurred to us till tested, the drinks racks are high enough that short barstaff are completely fucking useless to us.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  10. #10
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Well, we finally opened this weekend. I say finally because it feels like that but in reality it was just 7 weeks from the time we took the keys to when we got the doors open. A bunch of that time we lost to the holiday season. The bar is still a long way from finished but it's good enough for punters.



    We ran it super fine. Over the last we week we had people working in there almost 24 hours a day. About midnight the night before I was removing the tops off tables and replacing them with ones I'd been up late painting the night before.

    We finally passed Health Inspection at 8 am that morning and so we had a working kitchen.





    We had apprentice showgirls on the door to greet people as they came in.


    The liquor shelves were stocked (yes, the Whisky is J&B. I insisted).
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2kzquSE]

    And most importantly we had a full house of punters.


    Now this is restaurant opening in the age of Covid and so everyone working was in masks.




    Those sort of precautions had to extend all the way to the stage. Whenever my girl wanted to get off the stage to wander around the crowd a kitten had to apply a mask.


    I guess this looks pretty ridiculous to non-Australians but I suppose we've gotten used to it.



    The show was awesome. A lot of people in the crowd had worked on the venue so there was a rare kind of energy in the room that definitely made its way to the stage.






    My mission for the night was just not to get completely fucking wasted as I knew I'd have to be on a 6am train back to the country in the morning and then be back in the evening to do it all again. I totally failed in this mission.



    But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who had a cracking time. The proles looked pretty happy as they left the building.



    Absolutely shattered and exhausted by the whole experience right now. It was a rare kind of high but also draining in a way that I think I've only experienced on really long film making days. This photo of my girl kind of sums up the sensation. Yes she in full costume and make up and putting on a show but the exhaustion is hyper obvious.



    Still getting my head round the idea that this is what I'm every Friday and Saturday night for the forseeable future.
    Last edited by Dom D; 02-07-2021 at 03:47 AM.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

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