Saturday, July 30, 2011

Drama In Double Bay

The chattering amongst the clientele of the cafes, bars and hairdressing salons in the streets of Sydney's up-market Double Bay has been deafening.

Dee Bees : flags are flying but no-one's home
Last Saturday in the late afternoon huge black plastic covers started appearing on the windows of the suburb's most popular coffee shop and restaurant, Dee Bees. Stickers were pasted on the windows stating Closed For Renovations.  Removal vans appeared and the hundreds of photographs that adorn the walls- mostly of celebrities who have visited Dee Bees- began to be loaded into the back.

Many carry signatures of the great and famous who have dined at the restaurant-from Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, Kylie Minogue to Michael Parkinson.

All this was happening while customers were still drinking their coffees around 5pm but it's what happened next that has set tongues wagging. An ashen faced  manager gathered the staff in a corner and soon several were in tears and it's said one even collapsed and had to be revived. Some have been employed at Dee Bees for as long as 15 years. Will Dee Bees ever open again ?.

Times in The Bay are hard and the suburb has numerous empty business premises. As Dee Bee's owner Graeme Goldberg, (known locally as Mr Double Bay) has pointed out numerous times in his Latte Life columns, former properties like the Ritz Carlton Hotel (which he once managed) are lying derelict and empty. For 20 years it was the favourite inn for visiting international celebrities like George Bush Jr, Princess Diana,Tom Jones and Madonna.

Graeme Goldberg
Sam Neill
Goldberg has been a thorn in the side of the snooty Woollahra Council who control Double Bay and has constantly urged them to up their game. He's fought against odd decisions to no avail, like the bizarre 2 hour parking limit imposed a few years ago in the streets in an area where people loved to lunch for hours and then wander amongst the shops.

The Shuttle has been unable to contact Goldberg but perhaps an odd moment said it all as we passed via the back lane on Tuesday. Workmen were seen removing the kitchen equipment and loading it into the back of a van. Watching with a rather puzzled look was a Dee Bee's regular, actor Sam Neill, puffing away on a cigar.