THE times they are a’changin’ for Melbourne rock ’n’ roll institution Cherry Bar and the Russians are coming. The bar on AC/DC Lane isn’t just any bar.
When Oasis was touring in 2002, bad boy NOEL GALLAGHER was so taken with Cherry Bar he offered to buy it, calling it the greatest rock ’n’ roll bar in the world.
The Exorcist’s LINDA BLAIR DJ’d from midnight on Halloween.
Porn star RON JEREMY walked in on a Monday night only to crash out on the couch and end up in a few staff selfies. The mustachioed old dirt bag didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Cherry Bar was Melbourne rock ’n’ roll at its best with the likes of
AXL ROSE and the Foo Fighters rolling up after Melbourne gigs.
Owner JAMES YOUNG even campaigned to have Corporation Lane, off Flinders Lane, changed to AC/DC Lane.
Successfully so. Former lord mayor JOHN SO quipped, “As the song says, there is a highway to hell, but now we have a laneway to heaven. Let us rock.” Pipers played Acca Dacca’s rabble rouser It’s a Long Way to the Top.
Cherry Bar’s lease is understood to have been bought by nightclub tsars brothers
NICK and DANIEL RUSSIAN, of Eve nightclub fame.
Eve was the club where footballers and pop stars got together and BUDDY
FRANKLIN was rumoured to have notched up his 100th. It was the club where
BEN COUSINS was arrested after being found slumped and shirtless in the street outside after a big ol’ bender. He supposedly recovered sufficiently to mutter to police, “Take me back to Eve.” Such is life.
The nightclub also hosted SERENA WILLIAMS, BRITNEY SPEARS and KANYE WEST.
But word is the Russians came to Cherry with an offer too good to refuse. There is still some fine tuning on the changeover.
Originally founded by former Cosmic Psychos drummer BILL WALSH in 1999 and now owned by JAMES
YOUNG, LAZY PETE and JIM BOURKE, it quickly became the rock mecca during the noughties and beyond.
Lines are still to be dotted and keys are yet to change hands, with some sellout sour cherry rumblings from past owner Walsh, but it’s understood Young and Co will keep the Cherry Bar name.
So what will become of the venue that once saw LADY GAGA doing shots off the bar in her fishnets?
The Russians have been scouting for another prime Melbourne venue since closing the doors on Eve in 2016. They almost closed the deal on acquiring the Boutique nightclub on Greville St after colourful owner
DARREN “Razzle” THORNBURGH died last year.
Cherry Bar looks to be the cherry on top for the Russian Group as a live music venue. A 5am licence helps, with a restaurant and bar at the 300-capacity CBD site modelled on swish venues across the US and Europe. But a new fit-out might not come until mid next year.
Aussie rockers Airbourne once referenced the bar in their song Fat
City: “Midnight bite at the Cherry, so sweet is the juice.”
Sweet it is for some, while for the rock ‘n’ rollers it’s a case of another one bites the dust.
ESPY BACK IN BUSINESS
ROCKERS, meanwhile, can find solace at St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel once it reopens this month.
The sticky carpet might be no more, but The Espy will rock out with the Teskey Brothers on November 22, with DAN SULTAN and
TEX PERKINS also tipped to unofficially christen the joint.
The Espy is opening its doors for the first time in 3½ years after Melbourne pub group Sand Hill Road decided to “lovingly restore” the live music scene after buying the pub last year for a reported $13.2 million.
DANIEL AND NICK RUSSIAN
LADY GAGA WITH DJ MERMAID
THE ESPLANADE HOTEL