New ownership at Monkey Bar

A CHANGE of ownership for Dubbo's Monkey Bar will not threaten the venue's current program helping hospitality apprentices enter the industry.

Orana Education and Training Co-operative Ltd (OEC) has sold the popular venue to local connections nearly two-and-a-half years after purchasing it as a social enterprise venture.

Their chief executive officer, Ian Stanford, said there were a number of reasons for the decision.

But new manager Prashant Changela said the provision of on-the-job training would continue as normal.

"We have one cook working under the chef at the moment, and it's how the business is known," he said.

"It's not easy in the labour market, we're happy to support however we can if they're willing to learn."

Mr Stanford said OEC took the decision to sell the Monkey Bar after "an extensive review of the operations and careful consideration".

"(It had to do with) OEC's capital requirements going forward, particularly since OEC has expanded its operations... opening new offices in Lithgow and Mudgee," he said.

"To get back to OEC's core business, which is delivering employment services in western NSW.

"It is envisaged that this will continue with the new owners who are keen to grow on the successes already achieved at the venue."

The new chapter surrounds a family affair, with Mr Changela's wife Sweta and sister-in-law Radhika co-owners.

Mr Changela said he saw the potential Monkey Bar had as an upmarket bar in Dubbo and detailed a shift in the works.

"Changes include a revamped menu with a broad range - we want to put more fresh, local food in that suits weather conditions," he said.

"We've noticed there's not things like a Mexican restaurant so we want to have some themed nights starting in the next couple of weeks."

Mr Changela said that not everything would change, notably their popular music trivia night.

"It's a learning curve for me (being new to the bar business), but we want to utilise this place to its potential," he said.

New lunch and dinner menus will launch next Tuesday along with a revamped cocktail selection.

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