Clover Moore’s Small Bars Bill

September 25, 2007 at 5:19 am (Uncategorized)

Clover Moore’s Small Bars Bill is being tabled in Parliament today, and it sounds like she has got some powerful allies at last. I can’t believe the Australian Hotels Association is against this move to make licensing of small venues easier and cheaper. It makes soooo much sense, on soooo many levels, and I don’t even think the big venues will be unduly affected. There is always going to be a place for large pub venues in a city with as profound a binge drinking culture as ours (and no, that’s not something that recommends it or these mega-pubs, but it’s a reality no one is doing anything meaningful to address).

I know I have talked about this before, but the thing is, Llew and I constantly see little tucked away locations all over the place that would be IDEAL hole-in-the-wall wine bars or Italian-style enotecas. They’re away from main residential areas, they could only support 50-80 odd people, they have charm and character (maybe an old barber’s shop, or a converted butcher), and yet all that potential (I can see it now…) is going to waste because people with too much power and their own agenda are preventing Sydney from becoming a city that is more sophisticated and varied in its drinking habits.

We often talk about the possibility of opening one of these boutique venues ourselves. I know just what we’d do. It would be a fusion of several bars we’ve enjoyed in Tokyo (vinyl, jazz), Italy (crostini, vini), and Spain (chorizo, cerveca), bringing together all the elements we love the most: music, atmosphere, wine, beer, tasty morsels, and conversation.

Conversation. That dying art. Everywhere I look when we’re out there are TV screens blaring either a sporting event, a music clip, or Britney Spears’ latest on-stage debacle. Restaurants have even started hanging TVs over their dining rooms – UGH. It’s just absolutely hideous, as unfortunate trends go, and it’s even worse when the volume is so loud you really have to abandon all hopes of a chat and just rack up some pool balls instead. What I wouldn’t give for an intimate local where people meet up for a drink and a chat. We are starting to do it so, so well with cafes during the day – look at Barefoot in Manly and Mecca Espresso downtown – and this Small Bars Bill is really just asking for an extension of that culture of conversation to be extended to nighttime trade.

That’s all it is. Except instead of a caffe latte, I’d order a pinot, and instead of a panini, I’d have a cheese. I want it so badly I can almost taste it, and I know I’m not the only one. Good on you, Clover Moore, and here’s hoping your Bill gets through.


1 Comment

  1. notquiteart said,

    Not strictly your style but a video about DIY bars in Melbourne v. Poker machines in NSW.

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