Why owners of a beloved Melbourne bar are giving it away for free

·3-min read

The owners of a Melbourne bar are giving it away for free, in hopes of having the community decide who will come in and take over the business.

Charlotte Tizzard, her brother James Tizzard, and her sister-in-law Katie Smith, are the owners of the Hard Rubbish bar in Melbourne and have served the suburb of Preston for over six years.

However they have now decided it is time to move on and they're ending things a little differently. Instead of handing over their bar, affectionately called the Hardo, to the highest bidder, they're willing to give it to someone for free.

There are a few reasons as to why they're willing to hand over the keys without cash being exchanged — one of them being "f**k capitalism".

"We want to choose and we want our fantastic staff to be able to choose and because we want our community to HELP us choose just who takes over their local and what their plans are," the owners said.

The current owners want to keep Hardo awesome and are willing to give the bar to the right person with the right vision. Source: Instagram -hardrubbish_bar/givingawayhardo.com.au
The current owners want to keep Hardo awesome and are willing to give the bar to the right person with the right vision. Source: Instagram -hardrubbish_bar/givingawayhardo.com.au

Before deciding to give the bar away for free, the trio approached a broker who told them it could go for $90,000, Ms Tizzard told Good Food.

Though they would be left with very little money after the broker took his cut and they paid all the fees. In the end, they didn't think the process was worth it.

They also said they wanted new owners to take the money they would have used to buy the bar to instead invest it in the bar.

Speaking to ABC Breakfast on Friday, Ms Tizzard said they perhaps wanted to give the bar to someone younger who didn't have the money.

Hard Rubbish, a bar in Melbourne, could be yours for free. Source: Google Maps/Instagram - hardrubbish_bar
Hard Rubbish, a bar in Melbourne, could be yours for free. Source: Google Maps/Instagram - hardrubbish_bar

On the website, the Tizzards said they wanted to do this because "not everyone has a spare $100K in their bank", especially creatives.

"You know, buying a business can be $50-$100 grand, and that's a huge amount of money and we'd rather they spent their money on building this into their dream place," she said.

Hard Rubbish does make a "small margin" of profit, Ms Tizzard told the ABC.

How will someone get the bar for free?

Basically, the owners will need wannabe owners to send through a proposal.

It could be in written form or it could be something more creative like writing a song, doing an interpretive dance or drawing up a cartoon. It just needs to reflect the applicant's vision for the space.

In November, the shortlisted proposals will be presented to the locals and there will be a Q&A.

Ms Tizzard said the locals like the "slightly grungy" dive bar, so changing it so drastically probably isn't the best move, though she admitted there's still "room for change".

The sense of the community and the friendships the three owners have made over the past 6.5 years has "wildly exceeded" their hopes and expectations.

Obviously the new owners will also have to cover costs like rent, stock and wages.

Ms Tizzard, Mr Tizzard and Ms Smith seem to be very committed to their staff, saying the crew knows Hard Rubbish's ropes better than anyone.

It's the hope of the Tizzards and Ms Smith that the new "captain" will look after the staff as they are essentially part of the package.

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