The Workers Club Geelong

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The Workers Club Geelong

As soon as the iconic black and white logo’d poster with the words ‘Coming Soon’ hit the streets of Geelong people were talking. Nobody knew where this mystery venue was to open and the conspiracies on which vacant building it was to be in began like rapid fire. It had been a while since there’d been so much excitement over a new music venue and it was all thanks to the partnership of Spinning Half booker Steven Nichols and The Workers Club part owner John O’Brien.
Friends since high school it was a chance meeting at Port Fairy Folk Festival – where John was playing in his band – that really spurred on the idea of starting a new music venue in Geelong.
“All the while Spinning Half were trying to find a place for the past year and a half to call our own and it was funny because it was a conversation of what we would call the place if we finally found somewhere and that’s when we were like, ‘Wow, Workers Club Geelong, let’s see if they’d be interested’,” Steven says.
Working at the Melbourne venue John could easily see the benefits of opening a venue in Geelong, as punters from the town were regular visitors to the Fitzroy hotspot.
“People love live music in Geelong and that’s evident in all the punters who would come up to the Workers to see a show. It’s time we got another live music hall in our fair city,” John says.
Now with the location announced – The Workers Club Geelong will be replacing the old Kitty O’Shea’s on Little Malop St – works are well under way for the opening later next month and things are looking good.
“Because this venue has been so many different things in the past we wanted to strip it back and have it look like nothing it ever has before – probably ever since it was built,” Steven says.
Brien and Steven Nichols web
“We’re going for a really bare bones look, but there’s elements and tributes to Melbourne. It’s more about the branding and how the philosophies will be the same than how it will look similar.”
As John and Steven both admit, The Workers Club isn’t just about the food or the music, it’s about the whole experience when coming to the venue.
“People feel safe when coming to a gig or eating and drinking at the Workers Melbourne – Geelong will be no exception,” John says.
“We encourage punters to strike up a conversation with the guy or gal next to them at the bar and talk about love, life and all the beautiful things. The Workers Melbourne is about going home at the end of the night a little merry, full of food and on the back of a ripper gig, Geelong will be no different.”
While we may know the location, the owners are still keeping many of the details hush hush. The menu is set to be BBQ inspired, the alcohol will be sourced heavily from local suppliers though the chef remains a “delicious secret” as Steven adds with a chuckle.
“We’re almost there. We know what we want to do it’s just a matter of finding the right people to make it happen,” Steven says.
Something that’s not a secret is the quality of acts, both local, national and international, that will be gracing the stage. With Northeast Party House (March 21) and Jake Clemons (March 29) already announced there are already a handful waiting in the rungs to be revealed.
The good thing about the Workers Club is that it’s not just about getting big acts to fill the venue, Steven wants to give just as many locals a go as the big guys.
“It’s got to be a home for them to come and see music and not say, ‘I wish I could play at the Workers Club’, you can play at the Workers Club because it’s your venue as much as it is ours. So that’s the whole feel good part of it I suppose,” Steven says.
“The mantra of us at Spinning Half, I suppose, is to try and get local bands into supporting roles of big acts. And that’ll come through from the acts we choose to the wine we serve – a lot of it’s going to be local.”
With plans to partner with Courthouse Youth ARTS for art installations and talk of utilising the surrounding laneway space, it seems like Geelong is getting a lot all of a sudden and all you can wonder is if Geelong is ready for it.
“I hope they are,” Steven adds with a nervous smile.
And there’s no reason not to embrace it with the new lease of life that the venue will add to that precinct and to the live music scene in Geelong.
“ We’ll have more music and more consistent music and hopefully more punters coming out and from out of town too,” Steven says. “There was a fair bit of that a few years ago so why not try and bring that back and bring people back into the city? There’s all this doom and gloom about the city but that precinct is only getting better now. It’s going to be a good little area I think.”
Tickets are available to purchase for Northeast Party House and Jake Clemons from Stay tuned for the official launch date expected in mid-late March.
Where: 90-92 Little Malop St, Geelong
By Amanda Sherring