Longest Bar In The World
Since the club began in 1895, there have been a number of bars
- and even a few different buildings in which to house them. When
the club had settled to its present site, the first T-shaped bar
appeared in 1938 and was believed to be of a record length in
the State of Victoria. This bar lasted until 1970 when it was
rebuilt to include a hook at one end of the T-top, which gave
it World Record Length status and was noted in the Guinness Book
of Records. There remained, nevertheless, some debate as to the
veracity of this claim, as there was a rumour of a longer, temporary
bar somewhere in the USA.
In spite of this, this club's bar was undeniably the longest bar
in the Southern Hemisphere throughout its existence.
In 1970, the rebuilt bar featured magnificent, hand crafted red
gum panels right around its girth. These proved very popular as
souvenirs when the bar was eventually removed in 1995 (they were
sold to members for $5 each - and his writer has one!) Despite
its length, the long bar was regularly 3 to 7 deep, all the way
'round, with thirsty members - particularly in the 1960's and
70's - putting away over 140 kilderkins (18 gallon kegs) per week.
This club was CUB's best customer in Victoria in those days. The
long bar featured 32 beer taps, many in clusters of 4, each fed
from one of three huge chilled cellars, ensuring a short beer
pull. The bar's length measured 298 feet 7½ inches (approx.
91 m) around the centre line of the service surface.
Times change however, and it was becoming evident in the 1980's
that something was going to have to be done. Member's tastes were
changing, and a need for a downstairs entertainment area was becoming
more apparent. But the long bar was in the way of development.
In addition, stricter drinking laws were discouraging many from
a social drink at their club - at least for daily socialising.
For the off days,many chose to drink at home. The huge length
of the bar made it a costly exercise to staff, for a significantly
reduced number of customers.
As that decade progressed, members regularly found large areas
of their long bar being closed, awaiting busier times. With a
limited capacity to run live shows in a useful auditorium, plus
substantially reduced liquor sales through diminishing member
attendance, it was becoming a real concern that the club may soon
face financial difficulty. Other clubs could readily embrace the
newly legalised poker machines, but this club had nowhere to put
them. The long bar was again in the way. No one liked the thought
of the famous long bar being removed, but the club couldn't even
turn it into a profit-making tourist attraction. We'd regularly
see busloads of curious sightseers settling for a mere glimpse
- but unable to purchase alcohol because of the liquor laws of
So in April 1995, it all began to come out, and a big job it was.
Red gum panels were sold off - and even some short lengths of
the bar itself, to a lucky few. The PS Ruby has a short length.
Temporary panelling divided off the space to allow continued trading
while the club's ambitious refurbishment took place - and it was
a time of nostalgia, curiosity and wonder for the members as they
watched. The new bar was completely in place in October 1995.
It wasn't just the long bar that was affected; administrative
offices, the stairwell, the foyer and the boardroom were also
altered and/or relocated, and a lift was installed. Poker machines,
adjacent to the new bar, entertained many members and assisted
with the Club's finances and a large auditorium supported a wide
variety of attractions - bands, dancing and live shows.
While many might miss the old long bar, it cannot be denied that,
at the time, it had to go. It was a brave committee that made
the hard decision then, but it was made in time. It is arguable
now, since the application of stricter drink driving laws, that
the long bar might have kept the club viable as a tourist attraction.
We will never know, and would the members really want it that
At the turn of the century, it was becoming noticeable that trade
was nowhere near what it had been. With each passing year, frustrations
grew as live entertainment would or would not be supported by
the Members, and bar trade was getting worryingly low. It was
becoming apparent to Management that something drastic was required
to change the demography of the active membership. The club’s
interior was beginning to look tired, and competing venues were
hurting our business by their ‘freshness’ of more
And so in late 2005, the Manager and Board members made themselves
aware of the thrust of expectation in other regions, and ‘bit
the bullet’ yet again. This time, the renovation (commenced
early 2006) comprised a major rebuild of the entire ground floor
– opening up the feel of the place with big windows and
large areas including alfresco dining, and moving administration offices
to the rear thus providing large West-facing lounge windows. Together
with this development is a greatly enhanced Bistro area.
Where the Auditorium once was, now stands a fabulous TAB facility,
better equipped technologically than any regional venue –
and surrounded by an enormous lounge area. Extensive Audio/Visual
equipment is situated throughout the entire ground floor including
two huge 84 inch plasma TV screens. While the old Long Bar had
32 beer taps, the new and modern bar proudly sports 35 – and from them
can be purchased any of 17 types of beer. These beers are always
properly chilled, being supplied through state-of-the-art
The Mildura Working
man’s Club, it’s a great time out. Your club – our community.