If you walk around the inner suburbs of Melbourne, you will find a pub or a bar on every street corner. You would think that having so many pubs in a small area wouldn’t be sustainable but such is Melbourne’s drinking culture that allows 235 bars, pubs and nightclubs to successfully function in Melbourne’s CBD. I interviewed Miro Mihaly, bar manager at Melbourne’s Eve nightclub to see what it takes for a venue to be successful in such a congested market.
How does a venue like Eve maintain clientele?
Eve relies heavily on advertising from their promoters basically spreading the word through word of mouth and through social media.
Because Eve is targeted towards sports stars as well, we will allow a football club to hire out a room and we will supply them with free alcohol in the hope that they have a good night and recommend us to friends as well as coming back themselves.
Strategies to keep a venue relevant?
Eve tries to keep up with the trends by hiring the popular DJ’s at the time and host nights that focus on the various genres of music. We had Sneaky Sound System in last week and Havana Brown regularly DJ’s here. You also have to recognise your target audience, and Eve is focused on 21 to 30 year olds.
While I worked at The Long Room, there were no advertising strategies and over the course of time, a certain type of person began to come in, especially on Saturday nights. We didn’t even cater towards that demographic and we regularly get 1500 people through the door on a Saturday night now. I didn’t agree with the lack of advertising; The Long Room got popular through sheer luck.
Differentiate your product?
Having product differentiation is key in this market. The people with the original ideas that have combined their ideas with the right type of advertisement have been the most successful venues in the city. Your venue is going to struggle if you copy someone else’s idea.
Do you think there are too many bars/clubs in Melbourne?
In my opinion, there isn’t but from a professional standpoint yes there is. Maintaining a sustainable venue in Melbourne is there are some really well run establishments in Melbourne but on the other end of the scale you have a lot of venues who give the rest of us a bad name. Venues like pubs that allow fighting and throw drunks out on the street. At The Long Room we gave the intoxicated patrons a bottle of water and sat them down. We never did wrong by the customers there.
Do you think that other entertainment options suffer because of the thriving nightlife scene?
No, on the contrary. I think all the entertainment options profit off each other, especially from a hospitality standpoint. You look at a person’s night in Melbourne and they might start at a restaurant before heading out to watch a movie or their favourite team play before kicking on at a bar or pub afterwards. a common factor though is alcohol. There is a big drinking culture in Melbourne and you can see that by the number of venues in the city that offer alcohol. Even art galleries are offering alcohol now and events like the Suzuki Night Market have taken off because of the availability of alcohol.
Ben Sathananthan is a second year Sport Journalism student from Melbourne’s Latrobe University. You can follow him on Twitter at @bensathsports