With a *BLANK* days to go until the grand re-opening of 77, we got to chatting with the owner of the venue Dane Gorrel. He’s been a part of Sydney’s nightlife for over twenty years, and when he hasn’t been on its dancefloors he’s been working in, managing and growing Sydney venues. He believes in keeping 77 an independently owned venue, whose strength comes from the local talent behind the decks and the community it brings together every week. Ahead of the reopening we talk about the venue’s facelift, Dane’s hopes for Sydney nightlife and his dream local lineups.
What do you hope the nightlife will be like now it’s time to reopen?
I really hope Sydney nightlife goes back to venues and the club scene rebuilds overtime. Back when I first started going out when I was 19 which was in 1999, the club scene was really developed and strong. There were really only a couple of festivals a year, so on a weekly basis you just went to clubs and as a result there was this really strong and vibrant club scene. I really hope that Sydney can move in this direction again and venues thrive. Obviously the past 6 years have been tough for Sydney, so it would be great if all venues could start pumping again and businesses could not just survive but start to turn a profit again. I also hope that all the different nightlife communities are able to keep producing amazing parties and building the community. For what's gone on, there really are some amazing promoters that have not given up and are keeping the scene moving forward.
What about the reopening of 77 is most exciting to you?
Definitely the return of PavlovaBar :-) For me, Peter Shopovski is the best promoter out there and his programming is second to none. The way he treats and takes care of not just his crowd, but the artists as well, it really is a statement in itself. He has such a loyal following and is so well respected, both of these accolades he truly deserves. PavlovaBar has a deep history at 77 and everyone that is involved with or works at 77, is so excited that this party is returning.
It’s been a few months since 77 had to shut its doors, what should we expect for the venue’s grand reopening?
A fair bit of building work has taken place over the time we have been forced closed. It's been a really good opportunity for us to look at the venue and make some changes for the better. We've created a chillout area by closing up the thoroughfare and the second bar has been finished with a mixture of tiles, paint and mirrors, giving it a recycled and worn feel. On the production front we have increased the number of moving head lights for extra movement, installed LED screens behind the DJ booth, created a centerpiece of moving and different sized disco balls in the middle of the dancefloor. The toilets, as amazing as they are, have been made functional but kept in true 77 style. There has also been an upgrade in air conditioning and we will be adding to this once we reopen and are trading comfortably.
How will clubbing feel different?
Obviously when we reopen the environment is going to be different. Over the past couple of months we have put a lot of time into developing a COVID-19 safe plan and venue. We have worked extensively with NSW Health and have liaised with the Kings Cross Liquor Accord and Licensing in developing the plan and a safe venue for the community to once again enjoy. Our COVID-19 safe plan is a live document and is updated on a daily and or weekly basis, by a designated COVID-19 safety officer. All management, bartenders and security guards must have completed the Australian Government Department of Health Infection Control Training - COVID-19 as a mandatory requirement of their employment at 77. We are also making it a condition of entry that punters have the Australian Government COVID Safe App downloaded on their phone.
Who are some local acts you’ve been aching to bring to 77?
Adi Toohey, Phax Machine, Ben Fester, Andy Garvey, Dave Stuart, Dan Baartz, Drox, Lex Barlin, Warp Arts, Mike Witcombe, Kali and Boogie Monster.
Have you been thinking about any interstate bookings now the borders are opening up?
We certainly have. From Melbourne we're looking to book Kia, Pretty Girl, Interstellar Fugitives, Pjenne, Millú, Simon TK and Mike Callander. Phil Smart, who now resides in Brisbane and has a long standing history and affiliation with the venue, most notably with his Friday night Tweekin' party in the late 90's / early 00's will also be a fixture.
What have you missed the most about running the venue pre-Covid?
I definitely miss the week to week lifestyle of running a nightclub. 77 keeps me pretty busy outside of my full-time role with Merivale, everyday there is something to be done in preparation for the coming weekend. I miss seeing all the regulars and hearing about what they have been up to and what they are currently doing. I miss meeting new people and being able to provide a venue for them to have fun in. I also miss our staff, although I do talk to Luke (Operations Manager) daily and we hangout a few times a week. Suyog (one of the bartenders) has worked at 77 for close to two years and I miss hanging out with him on shift, we still speak weekly and he's looking forward to coming back.