As a devastating Instagram post reveals, the owners have “no petrol left in the tank”.
Sad news for everyone in Melbourne who has ever called The Tote Hotel their old stomping ground: the iconic Collingwood venue, which already closed in 2010 and was saved by the Save Live Australian Music Rally and current owners, Sam Crupi, Jon Perring and the late Andy Portokallis, has been sold.
The venue, which has hosted the likes of Press Club, DZ Deathrays, Porpoise Spit, and many more, has an uncertain future.
As a devastating Instagram post reveals, the owners have “no petrol left in the tank”. Broadsheet Melbourne reports that The Tote Hotel struggled throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and was part of the Victorian Government’s $13 million lifeline to music venues across the state.
In August 2021, the ABC reported that Crupi and Perring had failed to pay their hospitality staff superannuation for two years after the pair self-reported themselves to the ATO. A month later, the duo shared that they were up to date in paying their workers' superannuation. So, after a tumultuous few years, it makes sense that the owners are completely drained.
“The Tote is up for Sale. The owners, just like Jacinda Ardern, have said ‘they have no petrol left in the tank’ after the stresses and strains of navigating The Tote through the pandemic,” the Instagram statement reads.
Crupi and Perring said, “We signed up to save the Tote once, not expecting to have to do it twice! Especially after we lost our business partner to cancer just before the COVID lockdowns started. It’s time for someone else to take it on with renewed enthusiasm and vision now COVID is behind us. We feel the timing [is] right.
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“The Tote needs to broaden its business model to remain relevant in the future. We will be looking favourably at proposals that ensure a live music component including buyers who wish to pursue a mixed development of the property centred around the Hotel. There is plenty of opportunity around the addition of food service to the existing business or by the addition of a brew house.”
The statement notes that the venue will continue to trade and run gigs until the ownership transition is complete. “Then it will be up to the new owners. This is likely to be around June. The Tote will accept booking up until this time. Any dates beyond this will have to be made with the consent of the future owners. The current Tote owners will actively facilitate a smooth transition,” the statement reads.
Who’s going to rescue the punk institution now? Well, Private Function commented that they’re putting in a bid.