Rip It Up

Food and Drink

New Adelaide luxury bar faces backlash over live sharks plan

Words by Walter Marsh December 23, 2015

A new and extravagant bar set to open on Waymouth Street has been copping flak(e) for its plan to feature live sharks among a range of high end attractions.

Due to open in the former home of Garage Bar, Atlantis Lounge promises an ambitious and not at all OTT luxury experience that according to The Advertiser will include a champagne fountain, acrobats, gold plated toilets and a 3 metre wide cylindrical aquarium to feature live swimming performers, or ‘mermaids’.

But it’s the venue’s reported plan to house two live hammerhead sharks measuring at 60 – 150 centimetres that has garnered the most attention. Upon the publication of the original Advertiser story the bar received a deluge of social media backlash as hundreds of concerned animal lovers flocked to leave negative reviews and air their concerns on the bar’s Facebook page.

Atlantis Lounge’s under construction Waymouth Street premises

While several species of hammerhead shark including the Scalloped Hammerhead [pictured top], Great Hammerhead and Golden Hammerhead are listed as endangered or vulnerable by conservation body the ICUN’s Red List of Threatened Species, only a handful of species of shark are protected in Australia under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Although the Act makes it an offence to “kill, injure, take, trade, keep, or move” threatened species such as the Grey Nurse Shark, Northern River Shark or Speartooth Shark without a permit, apparently no permission from the Government is required to display the undisclosed hammerhead species headed for Atlantis Lounge.

Despite the clarification, the 1 star reviews currently number in the hundreds.


Meanwhile a petition has been launched urging management to reconsider their plan, attracting nearly 700 signatures. But others are urging calm, and pointing out that the conditions of the shark’s captivity may be equivalent to other Adelaide clubs with smaller scale aquariums.




While this is the first bar of its kind in Adelaide, there are other examples of bars with live sharks around the world:

Beach Club Cafe, Kuala Lumpur via TripAdvisor

The venue is also apparently exploring the casual possibility of using the adjacent Light Square as a pop-up helicopter landing pad to fly in VIP guests from interstate, Brownyn Bishop-style. Because when you’ve already rolled out all the classic Bond villain fittings, why not go that extra mile.

According to the original report the venue will boast Australia’s “largest commercial aquarium aside from SeaWorld. Which, it must be said, probably isn’t the most favourable point of comparison at this point in time.

Light Square

Atlantis Lounge is due to open in 2016. Atlantis Lounge management were contacted for comment on this story but did not respond by press time.

Related news:

Summer lovin’: new and incoming Adelaide bars
Peter Rabbit cafe and bar opens on Hindley with real, adorable rabbits
Ex-Savvy site reopens as glamour-heavy new venue


Shutterstock / Ian Scott