Bottleshop brewing at Ballina tavern

By DAWN COHEN

PETER CLARK had better enjoy his cuppa at Cafe Fresco, because by Christmas, the well-known Ballina eatery could be a bottleshop.

The Byron Bay man frequents the cafe because customers can get both coffee and a glass of wine.

However, the owners believe there are too few like him. Sylvia and Paul Donoghue, who purchased the Henry Rous Tavern for $3.4 million nearly a year ago, want to close the cafe attached to their pub because it is not doing well enough.

Ballina Shire Council has approved a development application to turn the River Street cafe into a bottleshop, Ms Donoghue said.

The couple are waiting for agreement from the Licensing Court of NSW.

"They have told us there could be delays from six to eight weeks," she said.

The former Wagga Wagga publicans are not planning major renovations. Shelving, refrigeration, an exterior sign and three cream electric security shutters will cover most of what they need.

The development application estimates costs at about $15,000.

"When Rob (Broomham, the former owner) opened up Cafe Fresco it was the only one of its kind," Ms Donoghue said.

"Now there are lots of cafes here.

"We decided a few months ago to make the change.

"We will still do coffee and food but we will scale it down. It's all up in the air until we get approval."

The bottleshop, although without a drive-through, would have the advantage of being open until about 10pm, Ms Donoghue said.w



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