In the face of the uncertainties of 2020, Olivia Moore took a leap of faith and opened LOC Bottle Bar, signalling the dawn of a new era at The Block on Hindmarsh Square.
Written by Renew Adelaide
Finding the Perfect Space
After running a successful online natural wine store, Olivia was ready to venture into the world of bars. She began attending Renew Adelaide inspections in search of the ideal location. This allowed her to meet the Renew team, who understood her requirements and recommended the perfect-sized and well-located spot when it became available. The only challenge was that it was a couple of months into the pandemic, and there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding business openings at that time. Nevertheless, Olivia’s confidence in the space and trust in Renew’s experience outweighed her apprehension about the timing, and she decided to seize the opportunity.
In addition to Olivia’s needs, Renew Adelaide had a deep understanding of what the lessor of The Block and the community at large was seeking – a unique and intimate offering to transition this micro-precinct into one that could cater for day-to-night-time trade. Ensuring that Renew Adelaide was not activating space with another small bar competitor, and rather adding to the existing market with something unique and complementary, a bar specialising in natural wine was not yet to be found in the Adelaide wine scene.
Support from Renew Adelaide
Renew Adelaide not only helped Olivia find the right space but also provided valuable support throughout the setup process. As a first-time commercial tenant, Olivia had many unfamiliar aspects to navigate. She expressed her gratitude, stating, “There are things as a first-time commercial tenant you have no idea about at all. So I felt very comfortable going into it, knowing I would have some supervision. I still had the freedom to make decisions, but I could seek advice on unfamiliar matters.”
Setting up a space involves numerous tasks, some of which may be completely new and unexpected. Despite Olivia’s background in hospitality and liquor licensing knowledge, she encountered various challenges, including the need for compliance assessments and council approvals. Fortunately, with the support of Renew Adelaide, Kipfler Studio,the leasing agents and the lessor, she had a robust support network to help her overcome these obstacles.
The Evolution of The Block
When LOC Bottle Bar first opened in The Block, the surrounding area primarily served city workers catering to a corporate clientele. Despite the initial concern that the absence of workers and the conversion of the neighbouring hotel into a medi-hotel would pose challenges for businesses in the area, the opposite proved to be true. The changes in the surrounding businesses actually led to the area becoming a lively and bustling precinct.
Olivia witnessed this transformation, noting, “Seeing the growth of current businesses like Clarity Records and Soi 38, and the addition of new establishments like Carton Deli and Room on Fire, has undoubtedly created a more vibrant precinct. People now have multiple options within our offerings. It’s not uncommon to see someone coming in with a Clarity Records or Room on Fire bag in their hand.”
With the departure of the medi-hotel and the return of city workers, the audience at The Block expanded beyond the usual demographic associated with individual businesses. Furthermore, the area began attracting visitors from interstate hotels, effectively turning it into a gateway to the city.
Thriving at LOC
Today, LOC Bottle Bar is thriving. Olivia recently carried out renovations in the space and is working on expanding her offerings to include food. The increase in foot traffic and the lively atmosphere of The Block have contributed to its success. With its enticing energy and growing popularity, LOC Bottle Bar has become a beloved destination for both locals and visitors, making it an integral part of The Block’s revitalisation.