It’s been in Braddon since before the hipsters were drinking craft beer and dirty chai lattes, but the time has finally come to call last drinks at the popular Lonsdale Street watering hole, Debacle.
One last hurrah is scheduled for Friday night (2 July), and owner Brad Daniels says he’d love to see everyone who has been a part of the Debacle story come along to celebrate and make plenty of noise just one more time.
He said the evening will pay tribute to the patrons and businesses who had supported the pub and the team of current and former staff who had seen the venue grow and change over almost two decades of operation.
Brad says the time has come to call it a day, citing the impossibility of continuing to trade after last year’s pandemic-induced shutdown and ongoing and ever-changing restrictions.
“We’re about to go into another period of restrictions right now, so we just don’t see a way forward for the business,” he said.
He says the thing he will miss most is the community and camaraderie of staff and regulars who love to socialise and work.
“It is an exciting place to work as it has formed the basis for all of our social networks.
“Some couples actually met while working here and are still together, so those kinds of stories are what I will remember,” he said.
Brad says that he will also miss the locals who regularly pop in and even those he just spies walking past.
Keeping Debacle contemporary as countless other venues have come and gone has also proved difficult for the venue.
Having watched Braddon change has been both a blessing and a curse, Brad says.
“Sure, we’ve seen lots of great development, but we have had to live through the noise and dust.
“It’s been really sad to see some nice buildings go as we’ve seen places that had a lot of memories and history being knocked down to be re-developed,” he said.
In the early 2000s when Debacle opened, it was one of only two pubs on the street – the other being the Civic Pub at the other end.
At the time, the street was full of mechanics, retail spaces and car yards and other, more industrial offerings than what is there today.
It originally occupied the spot at the now re-developed 30 Lonsdale Street, but moved to the Mode 3 building in 2013, although many elements of the original space were retained.
“Debacle was the place to be in Braddon long before Lonsdale Street became the culinary strip of the city.
“It’s been an icon in Canberra for many years, and we’ve paved the way for a diverse dining and entertainment culture – but now it’s time to move on,” he said.
Current owner Brad took the reins back in 2018 but now says he is looking forward to spending some quiet time with his family and focusing on his health.
“At this stage, I don’t know if I will go back into the hospitality industry as it is such a tough space right at the moment,” he said.