CBD bar gets green light to play amplified live music
A former troubled CBD venue now operating as a swanky tequila bar has been given approval to play amplified live music as the new owners promise to work positively with the community.
City of Melbourne councillors endorsed a proposed amendment to an existing planning permit for Miranda Tequila Bar, located at the basement of 313-315 Flinders Lane, to play live music on Thursday between 5pm to 1am, and Friday and Saturday between 5pm to 3am, with no more than 100 patrons onsite.
The venue, formerly the Randy Dragon Bar, was known for its rowdy behaviour and noise complaints, but according to the new owners, which had bought the business in January 2020, it had undergone a complete transformation and new business model.
But in a bid to ensure the survival of their business, which was still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, the owners said an amplified live music component was essential to operating as an entertainment venue.
The council received 19 objections to the proposal, with neighbours citing concerns about its suitability near residential apartments, noise from patrons and antisocial behaviour.
However, speaking on behalf of the applicant, planning consultant Hew Gerrard told councillors that a robust venue management plan, which mandated the presence of additional security “beyond what is currently required”, was in place, with the permit also stipulating that all external doors must be closed by 11pm.
“[The permit] also includes a robust noise complaints policy. Furthermore, the acoustic report that was prepared with the application is unambiguous that the proposal complies with the EPA (Environment Protection Authority) framework,” he said at the council’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting on December 5.
With respect to the 3am times for a Friday and Saturday night, we say this is perfectly reasonable given the bar can operate until 5am.
Any music played outside of the proposed hours is to be background music only.
The council said acoustic testing had been undertaken and had confirmed that amplified music would achieve full compliance with EPA noise protocol when tested outside the venue with no amenity impacts.
However, sound testing was not conducted on level one where residents reside, with Mr Gerrard noting the applicant requested this but they “weren’t allowed onto the site”.
The venue’s co-owner Miguel Parades told councillors that they wanted to contribute positively to the community and promised a willingness to work with their neighbours.
“They [the owners of the Randy Dragon] didn’t care about the liveability of the area at all. The Randy Dragon was known for cheap drinks, intoxicated patrons, which resulted in fights and problems,” Mr Parades said.
“We changed the target market to be more of a Latin American type of venue with Latin American entertainment and drinks,” which “began to drive the business in a different direction”, he said, noting they hadn’t lost any demerit points and were not involved in any major issues with Victoria Police.
Deputy Lord Mayor and planning chair Cr Nicholas Reece said he was pleased to support the application but noted “we are very well aware that we have a responsibility to balance the amenity of the city for our residents with our world-famous nightlife”.
Cr Reece also made clear that “none of us want to go through another ATET experience here at council”, in which he pointed to the barrage of noise complaints received from residents in relation to floating events space ATET in Docklands, which was ultimately stripped of its licence in 2023.