Featured Licensee: Flow Bar, Old Bar

Thursday, 08 Oct 2015

Sea-changers Steve Doessel and David Craig, owners of Flow Bar and Boogie Woogie Beach House in the NSW coastal town of Old Bar Beach (near Taree) are self-confessed lovers of live music. Their bar/beach house/café/restaurant is only 100 metres from the beach and hosts live music every Friday and Sunday and up to six sold-out ticketed events throughout the year.

Steve’s background as a Chief Financial Officer for the likes of Cue, SABA, JAG and Carlton United Breweries is brought to bear in his business and creative strategy at Flow Bar. But it was Steve’s parents’ refusal to allow him to learn drums that shaped his voracious thirst for live music.

Stephen grew up doing the rounds of iconic live music venues like the Hopetoun and Annandale Hotels in Sydney and the Punters Club in Melbourne, places where, he says, many Australian bands broke out.

Steve said, “It rips your heart out to think these venues are no longer. Economics might mean smaller venues are on the decline, but we’re optimistic that creating a point of difference, a creative, boutique and intimate experience, will put us on the music map.

“We’re doing our thing to keep Aussie music live and give these artists somewhere to play.

  “Its important to us that the artists are warmly welcomed. The rider is sort of irrelevant, we go above and beyond in providing all the comforts of home to our musicians. We’re developing a reputation for a place where great bands want to come. Everyone knows someone else in the industry and word quickly gets around. 

“Our strategy is repaid ten fold, when the musicians stay back to meet fans and relax in the Bar without the need to rush backstage. We had Diesel, Dallas Crane, Steve Smyth and The Audreys stay and mix with our patrons after their gigs. This is one of our deliberate strategies – to bring the artists back to the people, and create a place where the artists feel safe and happy to do this.

“When patrons heard Mick Thomas (Weddings Parties Anything) was coming they swooped on the VIP meet & greet packages we had created to hear Mick’s performance, stay on site and mix with Mick after the show. We sold out these packages before we printed the first poster.

“I’m excited that some of my favourite bands from my Uni days, Celibate Rifles and Jim Moginie from Midnight Oil, are coming to Flow Bar,” Steve said, “I’m like a kid in a lolly shop.”

Former Art Director David Craig is responsible for the unique, luxurious and playful designer interior fit-out of both Flow Bar and Boogie Woogie Beach House that sits atop. It is inspired by music with mosaic tiles depicting Dave Grohl, David Bowie, Louis Armstrong and Nick Cave among others as well as a very popular Mixed Tape suite harking back to Steve and David’s 1970s childhood improvisations. 

David said, “The Beach House is born from our love of music… and not wanting to go home after a great night out - it is not your ‘home away from home’ it's what you wished your home was like!”

Steve’s latest addition to his family with wife Jenny is baby son Harvey Cave Ellis (inspired by PJ Harvey, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis) who joins sibling Carter Tex (Carter USM & Tex Perkins) proving this licensee’s love of music will continue for at least another generation.

Since August 2015, Flow Bar has had an Unlimited Music Licence with APRA AMCOS which licenses them to play background music, have music on their website as well as unlimited annual featured music performances. 

Tags: upbeat
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