Remember the Irish Club on Elizabeth Street? Once a heaving Friday and Saturday night spot, there was a collective cry – particularly among older generations – when it went into administration in early 2015, crippled by debt from a bungled refurbishment.
The club eventually closed later that year, bringing to an end almost 100 years of history in its iconic Tara House location. Queensland lost a home for its Irish Association, and in particular its prized second-storey grand ballroom.
But the building might be about to get a new lease on life – as a cinema. It’s a project of the Sourris family, who have become local icons thanks to the success of their Yatala Drive-in, and more recently the New Farm Cinema refurbishment.
Plans for the new Elizabeth Picture Theatre were submitted to Brisbane City Council last week. They would turn the heritage-listed Tara House into a seven-theatre cinema complex. The ballroom would become a 121-seat theatre, with the other six cinemas ranging in size from 18 to 57 seats. Eateries and retail tenancies would occupy the ground floor.
Broadsheet contacted Peter Sourris for comment but he said there was little to report other than the fact the proposal had been lodged. “We’re just waiting on council, really,” he said.
If the development went ahead it would finally bring a second theatre complex to the CBD to compete with Event Cinemas, on the top level of the Myer Centre. Given that venue’s relatively high ticket prices and Peter and brother Stephen Sourris's success with the New Farm refurbishment, that’s no bad thing.