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By Tom Clift
April 05, 2017
By Tom Clift
April 05, 2017

Melbourne's inner west will soon be home to a brand new, community-owned, queer-friendly bar, exhibition space and performance venue. Coming soon to the eponymous suburb, Pride of our Footscray, aka POOF, aims to provide a safe space for LGBTIQ folk eager for a drink, keen to catch a catch show, or just looking for a friendly place to kick back and watch the footy. And if you're interested, you can get in on the ground floor.

For a $500 investment, punters can become part owners of the business, which should be up and running very, very soon. "We're in negotiations [to take over] an existing venue in Footscray," Chief Bar Officer Mathew O'Keefe tells Concrete Playground. "If that plays out, we're talking about like a late June opening. So that's pretty close."

In addition to the warm feeling you get from supporting a worthwhile endeavour, investors will be receive invitations to special members events, and enjoy discounts at the bar. Not to mention that when the money starts pouring in, you'll be entitled to a cut. Sounds like a win-win-win.

As the name Pride of our Footscray suggests, the venue will have a distinctly local flavour. "The working idea is that there'll be four different restaurants on the menu each month that you can choose from," says O'Keefe. "Maribyrnong is one of the most ethnically diverse council areas in Victoria, and we want to properly reflect that."

"At the same time we're talking to breweries, having conversations with performers and people who can do art for us," he continues. "We'll have a space for artists to display their work. I've got a theory that drunk people buy art more readily than sober people, so I hope that some of the art on the wall will sell."

As for entertainment, O'Keefe says punters should expect a mix of speakers, live music acts, drag shows and comedians. "It'll be quite vibrant," he tells us. "But we also need to have in another room a pool table and a screen where you can watch the football... this is a coincidence, but a group of Western Bulldogs supporters are looking at establishing Bulldog Pride, which just goes so well with what we're doing. We'd love to have that group have functions here."

Talking to O'Keefe, it's clear that community, whether it's the LGBTIQ community or the Footscray community, is an integral part of what the venue will be about. "Rather than three rich people owning it, there'll hopefully be up to 100 people involved," he enthuses. "The difference in the people who have come to us interested [in investing] is quite remarkable… people from all across the board."

As such, it's expected that investors will respect that sense of community as well. "You've got to sign a pledge saying in effect that [you] respect other cultures and other sexualities," warns O'Keefe. "We really want to make it clear that this is a very inclusive venue, and you can't apply to own shares in this business unless you're respectful of difference and diversity."

For more information about Pride of our Footscray, check out their Facebook page. If you interesting in buying in, you can also find their investors pack here.

Published on April 05, 2017 by Tom Clift


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