by By Sophie Moeller
IF THE first week is anything to go by, the future is bright for The Loft.
Lismore's hippest new restaurant and bar has been fully booked every night since its opening last Wednesday.
But there is more.
The Loft's new owners Brad Rickard and Kate Scott have just discovered that council has granted them an outdoor dining permit so they can spill their business out into Nesbitt Lane.
They will use it for the first time this weekend when, in association with The Back Alley Gallery, The Reel Abrupt Film Festival will fill the alleyway with "a celebration of collective community creativity, live music, local eats and live art."
Brad says he could not have hoped for a more positive opening for the venue. Upstairs the restaurants seats 35 but last Friday "we did over 56 covers".
It is fitting the walls should feature murals from recognised Back Alley Gallery street artist, Gus Eagleton. The Loft is open from 4pm Wednesday to Saturday as a fully licensed bar with its own menu.
There is no doubt Brad and Kate are leading the push to make Lismore "a go-to" food destination on The Northern Rivers. And why not?, says Brad.
"How come so many people go to Bangalow and Byron? It isn't because they like the drive. Lismore used to be known for its night life and that needs to return."
It has been a huge six months for the team behind The Loft. Its opening comes off the back of the extensive post-flood reconstruction of The Bank Espresso & Cafe, also owned by the couple.
Brad is the first to admit their plans for The Loft nearly didn't come off.
The couple were due to exchange contracts to buy The Loft on the Monday just after the flood. When the extent of the damage at The Bank was unearthed their plans to expand looked doubtful.
"Then we sat down with The Loft vendors and decided to go ahead. It just felt right," Brad said in an interview with The Echo upon the re-oping of The Bank last month.
"I am an optimist. I just believe you have got to walk the walk, not just talk. It is about wanting Lismore to be a destination. I want it to be happening for me and my community and someone has to do it.
"It is fun doing business in this town, especially with the relationship we have with our staff and customers.
"We are committed."
When it comes to The Loft, watch this small space. Big things are going to come from it.