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The 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 the day.

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 way?

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 recent renovation.

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 cellar technology.

The Mildura Working man’s Club, it’s a great time out. Your club – our community.

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Mildura Working Man’s Club Inc. | 90-124 Deakin Avenue MILDURA VIC 3500 | Telephone: (03) 5023 0531