This News item appeared in the January issue of Australian Bartender.
It might be raising political eyebrows, but plans to station US Marines in Darwin could spell a financial windfall for local bars, and potential operators. From mid-2012 the first installment of troops will arrive and by 2017 will reach over 2500.
Sydney’s Kings Cross thrived in the wake of a troop influx during and after WWII with thousands of American boys bringing their money, taste and touch to the area so a new wave of ‘Americana’ style bars might be on the horizon pending interest from potential operators. On the back of a sluggish economy, some in the Darwin hospitality scene see the proposal as a positive.
“As with most restaurants in Darwin it has been a tough year,” said Josh Overton (Hot Rock Restaurant & Bar). “I don’t really see how have the influx of troops arriving in Darwin can have a negative impact on trade.” He does, however, spy one potential issue for the locals – a touch of uniform jealousy.
“I can see that a few of the shift workers who work in remote areas may feel the pinch when they get into town and find that there is anywhere between 250-2500 marines taking away the female interest from themselves.” Ultimately the word from operators is that more visitors equals more ‘bums on seats’, and that’s good for business.