Kelp for Christmas

01. 51NEWSTHE Kelp Bar at Bathers Beach will rise again. Well, for at least the next two months.

Kidogo Arthouse founder Joanna Robertson has been fighting red tape to get the bar up and running following its success during the world sailing championships in late 2011.

Only three week ago it looked like plans to revive the beachside boozer had hit a brick wall when Fremantle city council refused her permission to apply to put toilets inside the heritage-listed beachside gallery she leases from the council.

She has since applied and been granted an occasional liquor licence, limiting the bar to just 12 events a year, but without the ablutions restrictions.

The grand opening was expected to be Friday December 20 and the bar will open most days and night for the rest of the year.

Ms Robertson plans to open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during January.

“I decided it would nice for summer,” she told the Herald, smiling from ear to ear.

“The city of Fremantle were great—they quickly gave me the letter of permission in a couple of days and they all supported it.

“We only found out on Friday—a week before we had approval so it’s been great fun.

“People in the community are volunteering and helping us, it’s been really nice and we are having fun.”

Ms Robertson says it has been a long two years trying to re-open the bar: “I like the fact you get all the community together and I don’t have to go out,” she laughed. “It’s what we do here anywhere. We are often debating here and people are discussing literature and philosophy and art and it’s just extending that.”

She has been overwhelmed by community support to see Kelp re-open, with hundreds signing a petition and even Ben Elton getting behind the bar.

“I never knew a concept that is so loved by everyone,” she said.

“I only set it up during the sailing championships for my friends. I decided if I only did it for them, then other people would like it as well.

“We are not professionals and we are a bit mad, so while the service might not be impeccable, at least it will be done with a smile.”

Ms Robertson is hoping that further down the track Kelp can open full-time.

by BRENDAN FOSTER

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