First country music cafe set to open in Stanhope

By Country News

A country-music-only café, Neon Horse, will open in Stanhope as soon as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Owner Clare Jones, from the northern suburbs of Melbourne, has a passion for live music and a goal to support the industry.

“I think it’s really important that people continue to support live music, it’s so much better than streaming and it makes you feel amazing,” she said.

“In 2018, I was looking for something country-music-related to go to for New Year's Eve and couldn’t find anything. I ended up at a gig at The Beehive in Canberra and I couldn’t believe there was nothing like that in Victoria.”

Mrs Jones works in financial services and commutes regularly from Melbourne to Stanhope to work on the cafe.

“I’m going through the permit with the council, getting the licence and painting windows,” she said.

“I’ve received amazing support from a few locals and the Stanhope Men’s Shed have done some bar tables for me.”

But when asked how she was handling becoming the owner of a licensed business, Mrs Jones said she was terrified.

“When it comes to event management that’s my thing; the food side of things is the most daunting, but there’s so many capable people interested in getting involved.”

The launch event will feature live performances from Rattlincane, Benny Allen, Zac and Eliza music, Cush Ryder and Dan Henwood.

Opening night will be a free event, with hearty comfort food to enjoy and live music until about 10 pm.

The cafe will have the capacity to accommodate 100 people; usual trading hours will be noon to midnight on Saturdays, with the potential to be extended in future.

Mrs Jones had been busy planning to conduct interviews to hire staff members when coronavirus restrictions were put in pace; now, Mrs Jones is currently accepting expressions of interest from locals who possess their Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate and their own vehicle.

For more information, visit Neon Horse Victoria on Facebook.