‘It deserves a future’: Melbourne’s beloved Bar Oussou is up for sale

Get the latest from Beat


‘It deserves a future’: Melbourne’s beloved Bar Oussou is up for sale

Bar Oussou
Words by Staff Writer

The owner of Brunswick's wonderful live music staple, Bar Oussou, has announced the venue is up for sale.

Since it began in 2012, Bar Oussou has been inspiring emerging artists from across the globe.

The bar’s long-term owner and legend of the local music scene, Mary Sitarenos, started the bar back in 2012 as a place where artists can perform, collaborate and contribute directly to Melbourne’s world-famous music scene.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Sitarenos, who’s of Cypriot descent and spent her life as an actor, theatre director, writer and teacher and hopes to continue working in her previous field once she can pass on Bar Ousso to someone else. She’s adamant that she’s focused on the legacy of the bar and the importance of retaining the area’s cultural heritage.

Sitarenos, who has been living upstairs and working almost every night at the bar since it started, also noted that is has been a huge process of deciding to begin to move away from Oussou and the community she’s built. With the repercussions of Covid and the increasing costs of running a licensed music venue, it’s become too challenging of an environment for her to continue peacefully.

“Bar Oussou began in 2012 and continues to this day to bring a very special kind of shared “soul making” to the music scene,” Mary Sitarenos said.

“I have arrived at a huge decision to part ways and place Bar Oussou on the market. I am moving forward to my own inner work and to spend time with friends and family. Bar Oussou deserves to continue as a home for many, it deserves a continued future, it belongs in many hearts and I know there are many who can champion this rare opportunity and keep this iconic landmark and cultural hub alive.

“It has been an incredible time of my life sharing with all who have walked into Bar Oussou, collectively forming a thriving space where cultural difference is realised as a shared experience through music, flourishing into a very unique venue attracting outstanding diverse artists, industry creatives, stakeholders, committed hospitality staff and communities of people as a home away from home.

“I love the House of Bar Oussou, the cacophony of songs and stories, may they continue like a strum of a string and vibrate out to a ready new keeper. Please spread the word!”

Bar Oussou’s heart is the music of Africa and also includes and embraces Latin, broken jazz, ethno and euro influences, hip hop, reggae, funk, soul, experimental and spoken word, creating roots in a world of cultures. So, for the 10 years of memories formed on that corner on Sydney Road where the people gather and celebrate the only way we know how – with good food, drinks and great music.

As everyone’s well-aware, these legacy music institutions are the backbone of Melbourne’s rich music and arts culture, and to see a business like this fade into the background through a quiet sale, to a possibly culturally uninterested buyer, would be such a shame for the community.

For more information, head here.