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Dot's closure follows lack of daily patronage

Thu 23 Dec 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

While they are incredibly sad to be closing their beloved bar, two bastions of the gay community are keeping their chins up and sending the venue out with a bang. Peter Taylor and Rodney Coleman have made the decision to close their Symonds St bar Dot's, saying sadly not getting enough patrons on a daily basis means the bar is not working. "So it is time to have a life and let the community go to other places that may suit them better," Taylor says. The pair moved their business, then called Dorothy's Sister, from Ponsonby Rd to Symonds St late last year and rebranded as Dot's. The new two-level bar was fitted out with decor designed by Les Mack. Taylor says while everyone loved the comfortable lounge suite in the downstairs bar, andmost patrons delighted in the decor and thought it was beautiful, others thought it was tacky. "You can't please all the people," he frankly states. "Our biggest challenge at this venue was to try and please the critics who said that we weren't classy enough or whatever their idea is of a gay lounge with free entertainment. People said it was the parking, but others said it was easier. "Some loved that they could talk above the music and others wanted it to be louder ... I expect it is trying to change people's habits." Taylor believes Symonds St is like Ponsonby 20 years ago, "Still funky and interesting and so less pretentious. It has 14 restaurants and we were open until late (2am) six nights a week," he says. "Local patrons are beginning to use our bar much more now as it takes time to change a routine. However, the biggest challenge has been the recession and the enormous impact on how much patrons have changed their entertainment habits." Taylor believes cheap supermarket liquor is the biggest challenge of today's bar business. He says high rents and labour costs make the margins in bars so tight now that the cost of a glass of wine or beer in a bar is almost the price of a bottle from the supermarket. "We have met some amazing people and made secure friendships. Our happiest moments are when the bar is full of people having a blast at a theme party and we have had many of these." Taylor says he and Coleman have enjoyed making their venue upstairs, ‘The Emerald Palace Room,' available for exhibitions to encourage new artists the possibility to display their work without paying commission to a gallery. He says they enjoyed choosing their gaming trust, the Pelorus Trust, which supported the community and to date has made a large donation to the Charlotte Museum Trust. The pair hosted GABA for nine months and also enjoyed supporting community projects such as Body Positive, and the Cartier Bereavement Trust with initiatives from artists such as Glorious Soul, as well as fundraising for the lesbian ballroom dancers, raising money to go to next year's games in Wellington. "We loved the drag extravaganza initiative from Sarah Problem and her talented young drag performers and introducing young stars such as the Glitter Monsters," Taylor finishes. He will resume writing and already has three projects on the go, while also returning to the speaking circuit and life coaching. Coleman is planning on seeking new work and following his passion for creative design. "Doreen and Vera will be available as performers and our Dot's Bar Family will continue to meet and enjoy," Taylor says. "We are tired and have not experienced the support from our community as expected. Therefore, we are closing our lovely bar and will enjoy a quality of life doing other projects that have been on hold for the past three years." Dot's is having its final night on New Year's Eve with a huge bash where Taylor and Coleman want to send the venue out "with a bang" and drink the bar dry. You can discuss this New Zealand glbt community news story in the GayNZ.com Forum    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 23rd December 2010 - 10:09am

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