A proposal to transform an abandoned bank into an classy rooftop bar is the latest example of Wagga's evolving drinking culture, with old-fashioned pubs seemingly taking a backseat to beer gardens and cocktail bars.
Birdhouse creator Scott Pearce has sought council approval to spend $580,000 renovating the empty Commonwealth Bank building on the north-east corner of Fitzmaurice Street and Johnston Street into 'Jungle' - a three storey bar and live music hub.
He believes the venue, which would include an open rooftop bar on its third level, will bring something entirely unique to the city and cater to a more mature crowd.
"It will be stand-alone in Wagga there won't be anything else really like it," he said. "There will be cocktails and bits and pieces but it will be more of a Melbourne-style bar and pub."
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The proposal comes in the wake of dozens of development applications for new venues and major renovations to Wagga pubs over the past year, with the industry looking to take advantage of the increasing demand for experiences previously only found in the major cities.
Mr Pearce credited the shift to a more metro culture to social media and residents not wanting to miss out on what other cities are experiencing.
"It has a lot to do with people travelling and going to the cities and also having access to social media," he said. "They're seeing a higher standard of food and drinks and they're open to change and trying these things so now there is demand for it."
Matt Oates, the owner of Romano's Hotel, said he has witnessed a dramatic shift in what Wagga customers expect from their pubs and bars since he moved to the region in 2014.
"Customers are becoming more educated and they're understanding more about the options they have," he said.
"You've got reality shows like Masterchef and other shows that take you to different bars around the world and I think the general public wants the opportunity to have those experiences regardless of the fact they're in Wagga."
The publican expects more small bars and unique venues to pop up in Wagga over the next few years, with the demand for more options likely to continue growing.
"When I grew up it was VB or Tooheys New and that was it," he said. "Now I've got a hotel with 38 beer taps and 16 different options."
Embracing the new culture will be crucial to growing the city's nightlife economy, according to Wagga Business Chamber business manager Serena Hardwick.
She said "quite a few" bars are in the works for the city, each offering more metro-style experiences.
"We've obviously got a bit of a different culture developing here and that's grown as new residents have come to the city," Ms Hardwick said.
"More offerings like this will help activate our central business district and really drive the night time economy and that's something really beneficial which we haven't quite got yet."
Mr Pearce is targeting a spring opening for Jungle.
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