Days of table dancing over for iconic venue

IT WAS a truly hallowed stomping ground - a deep-rooted rite of passage for any Cairns young'un with a hankering for tequila and a backpacker sweat bath just before closing time.

But alas, tabletop dancing at The Woolshed is no more.

The book has finally closed on the 25-year tradition of bumping and grinding atop the nightclub's sturdy benches - the end of an era and it all comes down to insurance.

Woolshed owner Dominic Davies explained the famous practice had proved too risky for insurance companies that had been repeatedly tightening the screws in recent years.

"Nightclubs everywhere are getting really hard to cover, let alone having dancing on tables," he said.

"Over the last year or two, there have been a lot of worldwide disasters and (insurers) have been doing a lot payouts.

"So they're becoming more and more risk-averse."

The Woolshed for years has paid a premium and jumped through all manner of administrative hoops to allow tabletop dancing to continue.

"It's amazing we've been able to keep it going," Mr Davies said.

"We would get a report from a certified builder and have them go through every six months, make any repairs if necessary, and sign off on everything."

The Woolshed's dancing tables have been removed after 25 years of stomping and grinding with management unable to find an insurer willing to cover the venue if the famous benches remained. PICTURE: THE WOOLSHED
The Woolshed's dancing tables have been removed after 25 years of stomping and grinding with management unable to find an insurer willing to cover the venue if the famous benches remained. PICTURE: THE WOOLSHED

Even such stringent quality control was not enough to save the tables from the insurers' big red pen.

However, there is an exciting new alternative in the mix.

Raised platforms have been built in place of the old wooden tables to ensure partygoers maintain an elevated podium to flaunt their top-notch dance moves.

"People really seem to be enjoying it," Mr Davies said.

"They're actually proving more popular than the tables."

Still, a twinge of retrospective longing hung on this dedicated publican's voice.

"I was surprised, but proud, by all of the feedback," he said.

"I suppose it shows how much a part of the social fabric of Cairns the Woolshed has become over the past 25 years.

"I'd like to thank the public of Cairns for enjoying the place and we will continue to strive to remain an important part of the city."

The Woolshed's dancing tables have been removed after 25 years of stomping and grinding with management unable to find an insurer willing to cover the venue if the famous benches remained. PICTURE: THE WOOLSHED
The Woolshed's dancing tables have been removed after 25 years of stomping and grinding with management unable to find an insurer willing to cover the venue if the famous benches remained. PICTURE: THE WOOLSHED

Mr Davies said there would always be somewhere for punters to bump, grind and enjoy the Cairns night-life at his club.

"It's just a component of the Woolshed where people want to strut their stuff and the platforms allow that," he said.

"The flavour of the Woolshed won't change - and all evidence to date is that the new platforms will only make things even better."

 

The Woolshed's dancing tables have been removed after 25 years of stomping and grinding with management unable to find an insurer willing to cover the venue if the famous benches remained. PICTURE: THE WOOLSHED
The Woolshed's dancing tables have been removed after 25 years of stomping and grinding with management unable to find an insurer willing to cover the venue if the famous benches remained. PICTURE: THE WOOLSHED

 

Tabletop rendezvous stories abound

YOU never knew who you might bump into on a Woolshed table at 3am - your boss, your future spouse, maybe even one of Hollywood's brightest stars.

Club owner Dominic Davies said plenty of celebrities had done the robot on those lofty surfaces over the years.

But good luck twisting his arm to find out their names.

"What happens in the Woolshed stays in the Woolshed," Mr Davies said.

"We like you to be able to get in and out undetected."