It might seem counterintuitive to open a bar during a pandemic, but Bloss McClelland did it anyway. And it’s been a success – Mami’s Bar has its first anniversary this month.
“It was a huge leap of faith, born out of not being able to travel or do anything like that – but I think it’s something the Bay has been screaming out for,” she said.
“We try to focus on something to do in town outside the usual suspects, so trivia, drag bingo, dumpling nights, something for everyone.”
The Batemans Bay woman moved home from a stint in Wollongong just after the fires – in time for floods and the pandemic to strike.
She saw the heavy toll the successive disasters took on mental health in the region, especially for men.
“We’re a bit of a chin up and get on with it kind of town, but it’s been a super-hard time,” Bloss said.
“The stigma around men’s mental health is a serious problem, and it gets pushed under the rug.
“Everyone’s on the bandwagon to help, but they don’t know how to start a conversation. Or if they ask someone, ‘Are you OK?’ and the answer is no, they don’t know where to take it from there.
“I’ve lost a few friends to suicide over the past couple of years and I want to do everything I can to help.”
This month Bloss builds on her vision of a space that provides good food, good drinks and good times, with a good cause.
Mami’s Bar will host a trivia night for Movember on 27 November.
Other local businesses have jumped on board and donated items to be auctioned or raffled for the men’s health charity.
Additionally, all proceeds from every margarita made at the bar this month will go towards mental health and suicide prevention initiatives, as well as prostate cancer and testicular cancer research.
Bloss’s dad, Brendan McClelland, and Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher will host the evening.
“Brendan and Mathew are really passionate about mental health and checking in, following up on that ‘Are you OK?’,” she said.
“They’ve both been huge supports to me as I’ve started the business. It is so important to have mates, and to check in on each other, especially in hospitality.
“I’ve been around the industry all my life – another reason mental health is so important to me, because hospitality can be a challenge, and there are people in it who need help and don’t know how to ask for it or where to find it.”
If you’re keen to get down to Mami’s for a cheeky Movember margarita, doors to the trivia night open at 4 pm on Sunday, 27 November.
There’s no need to buy a ticket, but space is limited, so bookings are preferred.
If you’re not able to make it but are keen to get behind a good cause, click here.