False Start: Moon Dog Wild West's Saloon Doors Aren't Open Yet Following Last-Minute Delays

It’s time to put the cowboy boots and Akubras back in the closet — at least for now.
Andrew Zuccala
Published on April 18, 2024

At the 11th hour on Wednesday, April 17, just before Moon Dog Wild West in Footscray was set to host its launch party, guests were told to turn around and head back home. According to the Moon Dog team, this was because Maribyrnong City Council sent them a last-minute notice indicating that the placement of one of the venue's fire hydrants was no longer suitable.

The crew weren't able to make the necessary changes in time, so the event was cancelled. Sadly, the public opening has also been scrapped until the council's needs have been met. That means it's time to put your cowboy boots and Akubras back in the wardrobe — at least for now. Or keep them on to listen to Beyonce's Cowboy Carter album one more time.

"We are so sorry to everyone that turned up last night excited to check out our amazing new venue, but instead were turned away. We always knew creating a venue of this size and scale with ambitious timelines was going to have its challenges, but it's bitterly disappointing to have been tripped up at the last hurdle after doing everything by the book," said Moon Dog Co-Founder Karl van Buuren.

Moon Dog Wild West rooftop - brewery bar in Footscray

"We have had amazing support from the council and the Footscray community in the lead up to opening this venue, and we are very sorry to all the bookings, functions and everyone else that was planning to come down tonight," he added.

"We're hopeful to have a resolution as soon as possible and, when we do, we look forward to sharing a new opening date with everyone and finally cracking an ice cold beer and jumping on the bucking bull."

There's plenty of old-western fun to look forward to beyond riding the mechanical bucking bull once Moon Dog Wild West opens. There'll be a secret little Pianola Bar, an arcade, pool tables, a private dining space, a barrel-ageing room, and a stunner of a dog-friendly rooftop that's littered with cacti and fake dessert rocks. Every part of the ambitious venture has been packed out.

Moon Dog Wild West - brewery bar in Footscray

Moon Dog Wild West will have bars on each level pouring Moon Dog beers and seltzers from over 100 taps. Three-time Australian Bartender of the Year Chris Hysted-Adams has also been brought in to design the cocktail list and shots menu. This includes an old-school pickleback shot, a regularly changing old fashioned that'll be served in a barrel for four people and a layered tequila sunrise slushie.

Then you've got the food, which is all very Tex-Mex-inspired. The team is pumping out sizzling fajitas, buffalo chicken ribs, double-decker tacos, Mexican twists on prawn cocktails and a big ol' one-kilogram t-bone steak.

There's so much to look forward to when the crew finally gets the green light to let punters in through the swinging saloon doors. The same can be said for the upcoming Docklands and Frankston bars, which the team plans to open later in 2024.

Moon Dog Wild West - brewery bar in Footscray

Moon Dog Wild West - brewery bar in Footscray

Moon Dog Wild West - brewery bar in Footscray

When Moon Dog Wild West opens, you'll find it at 54 Hopkins Street, Footscray, operating from 3pm–late Monday–Tuesday and 11.30am–late Wednesday–Sunday. For more information, head to the venue's website.

Images: Arianna Leggiero.

Published on April 18, 2024 by Andrew Zuccala
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