After two decades pushing into markets in dozens of overseas cities, pedal-pubs are set to set off in Adelaide later this month.
US-based entrepreneur and former Rolls Royce engineer Stephen Lindsay is bringing two Amsterdam-manufactured 16-seater cycles to Australia to operate them as licensed pubs touring the streets of the South Australian capital.
The HandleBar open-frame vehicles, around the size of a car, have been in operation in cities in Europe, Asia and the US increasingly since their inception in the Netherlands in the 1990s.
They have no engine, and all steering and braking is done by the (completely sober) driver – known as “Bar Handler”. Patron passengers provide all power, each contributing to an elaborate collective drive mechanism capable of a little under 10 kilometres per hour.
The patron-powered-pubs are a first for Australia, and Lindsay and HandleBar co-owner Jason Seris have had to jump through numerous hoops to clear the contentious vehicles with South Australian regulators.
The pair began their venue in the US in 2012, where they now operate nine of the vehicles. Lindsay will himself be driving one of the new units in Adelaide. He told InDaily they are in discussion with venues such as the Gilbert Street Hotel about incorporating them into the two-hour tours.
“We want to stop at locations where bar owners welcome us, so right now we’re trying to feel out the good stopping points for our customers.”
Adelaide City Council reports “extensive consultation” with relevant Councils, Government agencies and the AHA.
“All concerns regarding vehicle compliance and safety, food and alcohol service, waste disposal, suitable city routes and occasional stopping points have been satisfied.”
The AHA SA confirmed to PubTIC that their involvement was regarding consultation with bricks & mortar operators, in terms of routes, and expectations around amenities and RSA.
HandleBar has also agreed to avoid larger CBD roads, such as Hindley Street, to avoid creating additional congestion.
The vehicles are currently en-route to Adelaide, and are expected to conduct their first tours 27 February. Group bookings will cost between $440 and $550, depending on the day.