The Mornington Peninsula’s getting a new venue come late August. The music-focused party bar, named Wowee Zowee after the seminal Pavement album, is currently under construction.
“I’m up to my elbows in black paint,” says co-owner Clint Hyndman, who also owns Yellow Bird Cafe in Windsor, and who is the drummer in Australian band Something for Kate. “It’s ruined my winter beanie already, I’m spewing.”
Wowee Zowee will open in what was formerly the Backyard Bar, down an alleyway off Main Street in Mornington.
“It was an infamous bar in Mornington, that had been running for about 15 years, that specialised in $3 Cowboy shots and lots of Red Bull and Monster Energy drinks by the look of what’s left here,” says Hyndman from the site.
“Anyone I speak to down here … says, ‘Oh that place, that’s the place you’d go to when you’d been knocked back from every other place’. It was pretty wild by the sounds of it, but in a good way.”
The 80-person venue’s fit-out will be a mixture of kitsch, dive bar and diner. There will be a focus on classic cocktails, local spirits and tinnies. Hyndman is stocking up on old beer signs and fake flowers, and he’s on the hunt for a jukebox.
“Our emphasis is on music and rock’n’roll at Yellow Bird, so we’ll be carrying that through down here,” says Hyndman. “We’ll keep it dark but with … music posters, and coloured light against the black backdrop.”
Hyndman and his business partners Cam Marshall, Craig Baum and Simon Tarlington will each bring something to the mix. The wine list will be handled by Marshall, who also runs Garagiste winery on the Mornington Peninsula; Baum, who also runs the bar-fabrication and hire company Bar Barons, will handle the bar construction and finishing; and Simon Tarlington, who’s currently the head chef at Paringa Estate, will oversee a menu that leans towards Southern US staples. Fried chicken is a definite, and there will be plenty of vegan options.
“I grew up down the Peninsula originally,” says Hyndman. “It’s weird coming back home after 20 years and opening up a bar on a street I used to party at when I was 18 and 19 back in the day. It’s kind of cool.”
Wowee Zowee will open at the rear of 35 Main Street, Mornington, in late August.