The historic Bank Corner building in Newcastle West could soon be home to a wine and cocktail bar.
A development application to convert the building's ground floor premises into a licensed small bar was lodged with Newcastle council late last month.
The applicants are Prudence Farquhar and Byron Marzinotto, who operate Blue Kahunas - a small bar in Hunter Street Mall.
They have proposed a 120-person capacity bar/lounge, seeking trading hours of 11am to 2am Monday to Saturday and to 10pm Sunday. An application for a small bar license has been lodged with the NSW Department of Industry's Liquor and Gaming.
The Bank Corner venue will be known as Bar Mellow.
"We've been thinking about doing a second business for a little while and with COVID a lot of rental opportunities popped up," Ms Farquhar said.
"The architects moved out of that building and it came up. It's a really beautiful space, and I think a really sophisticated cocktail bar will just go perfectly in there."
Ms Farquhar said the city's evolving west end and the "iconic, horseshoe-shaped" building and its corner-block position were significant factors for choosing the site.
"There's offices opening up, apartments going up and the west end looks like in the future it will be a very cool and hip area," she said.
Following the closure of Newcastle Leagues Club, there are no other pubs or clubs in the immediate surrounding area. The closest are The Family and Cambridge hotels. The closest small bar, The Koutetsu, is more than 500 metres away.
The development application proposes minor internal works to the heritage-listed building in order to convert the space into a bar. The building was a Bank of NSW branch between 1938 and 1970. It still features a vault.
Ms Farquhar said the success of the city's trial of relaxed liquor laws, which for the past six months has allowed participating small bars to trade until 2am and serve stronger drinks like cocktails, had given the duo confidence to push ahead with the Bar Mellow plans.
"Prior to the small bar trial, we were probably looking at doing something else other than a small bar," she said.
"But now that this trial has had quite positive outcomes, it makes the small bar license a really attractive option.
"It's proven that small bars are low risk, both during this trial and around NSW."
She said if approved, the venue would be unlikely to open until mid-afternoons and likely wouldn't initially open on Sundays.
"We're really excited. We think a small bar will be a great addition to the west end. Fingers crossed everything goes well with council," she said.