The Punters Club To Be Restored, Reopen Later This Year

2 July 2024 | 12:16 pm | Mary Varvaris

The Punters Club closed its doors on 17 February 2002.

The Punters Club in Fitzroy

The Punters Club in Fitzroy (Image credit: Cnwb, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Punters Club, an iconic music venue with the reputation of New York’s CBGB in the heart of Fitzroy, Victoria, is being lovingly restored to its original glory and is reportedly set to reopen later this year.

Taking over the Moonee Valley Hotel and becoming a live music venue, The Punters Club opened in 1987. It hosted acts performing all kinds of music, helping launch the careers of beloved Aussie bands like Something For Kate, Magic Dirt, Frente!, Spiderbait, You Am I, and others.

After the increase of property rents across Brunswick Street took over in the 1990s, by the time The Punters Club’s lease was up for renewal in 2002, owner Mat Everett opted to close its doors, citing unsustainability for the music venue at the time. TISM were just one of the bands that performed during the venue’s twelve-hour farewell marathon on 17 February 2002.

The Punters Club later became a pizza bar called Bimbo Deluxe, while Everett searched for another music venue in High Street, Northcote, buying the Commercial Hotel and reopening the space as the Northcote Social Club in 2004.

For years, the Kewpie Nightclub has stood in The Punters’ Club place, but it’s been wasting away – according to members of Sound As Ever, a Facebook group created by Scott Thurling and Jane Gazzo in 2020 to celebrate Australian indie music of the ‘90s.

Sound As Ever shared the epic scoop that The Punters Club is reportedly being restored and set to reopen in early August, as well as some photos from inside the venue.

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“As the 'online custodians' of much loved and missed 90s venues, it gives us great joy to announce the return of the pub that inspired this page: The Punters Club,” a post on the Sound As Ever Facebook page from this morning reads (2 July).

The post mentions that The Punters Club has been bought by Fitzroy locals “who were watching it waste away as ‘Kewpie Nightclub’” who decided that while the venue can never be the original Punters Club, “their intention is to return it back to a pub on Brunswick St that we can all be proud of.”

The post continued, “They are restoring the pubs name back to The Punters Club (because all the locals still refer to it as that) and will be painting it back to its original colours of cream and green.”

Members of Sound As Ever checked out the venue last week. Upon viewing the space, they wrote, “Their hearts are totally in the right place (it was awful to see what the former nightclub group had done to it), and they are restoring all the old wood panels and buying up 90s band posters to hang all around the venue.”

One of the new owners told Sound As Ever, “We see this new era as a love letter to the original pub, which original owners Mat and Penny Everett so beautifully created and plan to focus on music and music events but also create a community for all music lovers and locals. We want to honour what it once was but at the same time create something new.”

The Music has reached out to Sound As Ever for comment.

SOUND AS EVER SCOOP! ***exlusive*** Hey Soundies, As the 'online custodians' of much loved and missed 90s venues, it...

Posted by Sound As Ever - Australian Indie 1990-1999 on Monday, July 1, 2024