Caretaker’s Cottage plans to expand while respecting a popular city park

Caretaker Cottage Wesley Place
Caretaker Cottage Wesley Place
Brendan Rees

The co-owner of a tiny CBD bar nestled within a popular urban park has given assurances that their plan to expand their outdoor area would be respectful of the surrounding space.

The Caretaker’s Cottage, which occupies an iconic century-old bluestone building at Little Lonsdale St, launched six months ago, and has continued to grow in popularity – with management now hoping to extend its outdoor licenced area to the concrete bench seats of the Wesley Place green space, while also increasing its patron capacity from 50 to 80.

But the bar’s co-owner Matthew Stirling maintained they had been “very careful” in their approach and would ensure the amenity of the area was respected which included the Wesley Church, residential buildings, businesses, and the open space.


“We definitely think it's important to maintain a comfortable, clean, and safe space,” he said. 


“It’s it is very much a communal space that we want people to enjoy.”

Under the proposal being considered by the City of Melbourne, there would be no music played including at background levels in the new outdoor area, which would cover an area of 25.6 square metres.

Trading in the outdoor area would also not extend beyond 11pm on any given day and be limited to 30 patrons.

“Further, the premises will continue to operate in accordance with the requirements of the planning permit, liquor licence and patron management plan all of which contain sufficient safeguards to protect the amenity of the area,” the bar’s planning application said.

Since the bar’s opening in March, Mr Stirling said his team had been “really vigilant” in running the business responsibly.

In fact, such is their success, that the venue was recently named one of the world’s best in the World’s 50 Best Bars list, having taken out 60th place.

Mr Stirling said they were thrilled with the news, which was a “completely unexpected recognition”.

“We've worked really hard, and we’re so proud,” he said, with the venue offering a mix of classic and contemporary cocktails and beer. 

“Luckily for us, the timing of our opening [after COVID lockdowns] meant that we haven't really had to deal with any tricky conditions.”

“We’re very happy. We've been really lucky to just be consistent and just grow each week, which is something we're really grateful for given just what the landscape hospitality has been for the last couple of years.”

East Enders residents’ group president Dr Stan Capp said the bar was well managed without any concerns about noise having been raised and hoped the public space and the expansion of the outdoor area would work harmoniously together if the plans were approved.


Caption: The Caretaker’s Cottage has plans to expand their outdoor area and patron capacity.

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