Foundry sparks national interest

Some claim you can’t be too many things to too many people, but Carlton United Brewery’s Foundry Pub and Grill has enjoyed success doing exactly that.

The pub, located at Westfield Carousel, includes a pub, restaurant and a stage for live entertainment, but combines all three areas in one open-floor design.

Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (CUB’s hospitality purchasing arm) opened the pub late in 1999 and regional operations manager Allan Jefferies said its success had sparked interest from eastern state-based developers.

“The Foundry has made developers and shopping centre operators aware that it can be done,” he said.

“We’ve been approached nationally, mainly where they have been looking at refurbishing.”

The Foundry Pub and Grill venue manager Niamh Kinahan said that the ability to change the capacity of the restaurant and promote entertainment on nights when food is not their best seller has worked particularly well.

“Thursday night is not our biggest night,” she said.

“We create sitting outside and incorporate more room in the bar area. The band comes on at about 9.30pm when the dinner crowd is smaller.

“It’s been very successful and we found a hole in the market for Thursday night entertainment. And, not being residential, we were able to get an extended liquor licence and stay open until 1am.”

She said the Foundry Pub and Grill appealed to a wide range of people and that being located in a shopping centre attracted a varied crowd.

Mr Kinahan said while the open-floor plan was hard to work with because you couldn’t section off restaurant patrons from bar patrons, the design had been part of the success.

“The venue is very user-friendly. It doesn’t scream band venue. It doesn’t scream cafe venue. It’s so open that it doesn’t present itself as a pub.”

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