Save PICA Bar!

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The owners of Picabar have received a message from the Perth Theatre Trust that their lease is being ended on the 13th of November. Because of this, the owners must cease trading and hand over the keys within the next few weeks. (Update 30/10/2018: I spoke to John Carey today, and he said that the venue will be able to continue operating until early next year, with it's future uncertain after that point. An email I received from PTT today stated that 'The current bar operator, Lazarus Road Pty Ltd, will be offered a licence to occupy until an Expression of Interest (EOI) process is complete'). 

Picabar is a bustling venue in the heart of Northbridge that brings a lot of life to the area. It employs 15 people. It is considered an artistic hub of Northbridge, but also feels welcoming to people from all walks of life. In a time where hospitality venues are closing left and right, Picabar is not only thriving, but is actually attracting people to the Cultural Centre and Northbridge as a whole. A lot of this due to the ambience that has been created by the owners Brian Buckley & Melissa Bowen, and the hard work they have put into the venue over the last 7 years.

The Perth Theatre Trust has chosen not to renew Picabar's sub lease of the venue, and wants open an Expression of Interest for the space [source]. We are concerned that the lease will then go to the highest bidder, without considering other factors. For example, throughout the Perth CBD and Northbridge, we see hospitality venues misjudging the market and closing their doors, sometimes only months after they open. If the Picabar space changes hands, we're concerned that the ambiance that the venue has created - a bustling space where all feel welcome - will disappear, and that soon the space will return to a boarded up and unused annex of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, as yet another new bar goes out of business. Many of you remember how lifeless and desolate that part of the Cultural Centre felt pre-2012 (the year Picabar opened). Without Picabar attracting people to the area, we're concerned the Cultural Centre will return to a place that people hurry through at night, rather than a vibrant place people go out of their way to visit.

Perth Theatre Trust have only been managing the Cultural Centre for a few months. Ending the lease on Picabar would absolutely be the wrong decision for the Cultural Centre, and for Perth as a whole.

Instead, let Picabar stay in the hands of people who have a proven track record of managing the space well. None of us can imagine a venue using the space any better.

Please, sign this petition to show your support for Picabar. We ask the PTT to reconsider their decision, and to renew Picabar's lease on a longer term basis, so the venue can remain open as the lively heart of the Perth Cultural Centre.

(If you sign, please consider writing a comment about what Picabar means to you, and why you want the venue to stay open. If you’re able to include your postcode and age, that would be helpful!).