The campaign by the Australian Hotels Association against small bars is a classic example of commercial self-interest dressed up as community high-mindedness.

AHA: Show us the Manet.

In essence, the organisation that has a vested interest in plying us all with liquor is arguing that licensed establishments are now at a premium. This closed-shop mentality is affecting the quality of life for those Australian cities where drinking options are confined to the traditional pub or club alternatives.

It is kind of amazing that a city such as Melbourne, a cold windswept town unblessed by natural beauty, has transformed itself into an excellent place to be courtesy of a vibrant bar and restaurant culture. Yet other Australian cities which are trying to adopt similar policies are being held back, principally by the self-interest and influence of the AHA.

When Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore made the excellent decision to push for small bar licences, the former head of the NSW AHA John Thorpe infamously billed the issue as a ponces-versus-battlers issue. Thorpe said that, unlike those Melbourne types, Sydney didn’t want to sit in small bars reading poetry and drinking chardonnay. Onya Thorpey.   

Happily Thorpe lost the argument but the fight is still being fought elsewhere, currently in Adelaide. The proposal to make it easier and cheaper for people to obtain small bar licences would inject new life into the often moribund city of churches, as it is excruciatingly known.. Yet the plan is the subject of a hysterical and craven campaign by the hotels lobby which would deny people choice as to how they choose to enjoy themselves.

Shorn of its deceit, the AHA’s position is that there should be two types of venues in Adelaide – pubs which offer meals, drinks and gaming, and the meat markets and blood houses which make our Kings Cross equivalent of Hindley Street such a deeply unpleasant late-night destination. The AHA opposes any increase in the very limited number of small venues which have opened over the past few years.

It is all about the maintenance of profit.

Not so, the AHA counters. Armed with some bodgy push polling, the South Australian branch of the AHA says that 72 per cent of people believe the CBD already has enough bars, pubs and clubs. The framing of the question in this survey was obviously desired to elicit such a response. The survey avoided giving respondents the chance to say whether they would like the option of going to a small, quiet place to enjoy themselves in a different way. It misleadingly sounded like the AHA – of all the organisations – was trying to harness community sentiment that drinking has reached saturation point. It was the AHA as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

The AHA, of course, would love it if we all drank more. The problem it has is with the prospect of people drinking at new places could create competition for its existing member base.

Someone should do some research on how many people would “defect” from their local if a groovy wine bar opened around the corner. I doubt many would. I can’t imagine there’s too many blokes down at the Port Adelaide who would abandon their West End Draughts so they can pop into the CBD for a glass of fino and a slice of jamon. If there were more small bars I would still go just as frequently to my excellent local. Say what you like about tapas, but it’s pretty hard to beat a parmy and a pint of Coopers, and the kids love getting their free Zooper Dooper and goodie bag with their kid’s meals.

But small bars just give us another choice. It would be good, especially in the city, if there were more options for people who felt like a quiet drink without the miserable jangle of Queen of the Nile in the background or a screen showing falling Keno balls above their head.

And if there is any sector that is well-positioned to absorb a little bit of extra competition – if indeed the competition will even be notable given the unlikely drain on existing patrons – it is the cashed-up hotel industry.

A small factoid from last month’s SA State Budget: so far this year gamblers have lost $562.9 million on poker machines in South Australia. Even that figure is not enough in the eyes of the hotel industry, as at the same time last year they lost $566.5 million. Asked about this apparently lamentable shortfall, the man leading the push against small bars, AHA SA president Ian Horne, said people were becoming more cautious with their discretionary spending. Well, good. If people are gambling a bit less, we shouldn’t be lamenting it, but encouraging it. Just as we should be encouraging the creation of an additional new drinking culture, which challenges the view that ripping out your pool table, your band stage and dart boards to cram in the maximum number of poker machines is the modern-day definition of hospitality.

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71 comments

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    • James In Footscray says:

      06:41am | 15/06/12

      I’ve abandoned wine bars and gone back to the old-school pub - and even pokies places (if they have a decent bar). You CAN read poetry and have a chardy, yet remain completely anonymous. In a wine bar you have to dress up, you feel a bit awkward being there by yourself, and wine costs ten bucks for a glass filled a quarter full.

    • acotrel says:

      09:47am | 15/06/12

      ‘Liking small bars doesn’t make you a tosser

      Have you seen Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers ?  He’s got one !

    • Pedro says:

      11:15am | 15/06/12

      There’s a place & time for them both.
      I’d love to be able to afford to drink at a wine bar or craft beer pub all the time, sadly that’s not the case.

    • Gary Cox says:

      06:41am | 15/06/12

      Hang on a sec, cold windswept town with no natural beauty? Melbourne and Sydney both share 26 degrees as an average maximum in January. Sure July is a different story with 16 and 13 degrees respectively but Melbourne people love those crisp winter days so they can show off their European styles and enjoy good coffee. Melbourne actually has twice as many ‘beach going’ days of over 30 degrees than Sydney but only has half as much average annual rainfall as Sydney with 648mm vs 1212mm which kinda explains why visitors to Sydney always feel like it always rains there especially in Summer, do you call it Summer up there? As for windswept, well it turns out that Perth is Australia’s windiest city with an average daily wind speed of 16km/h followed by, wait for it, Adelaide at 12.4km/h, hey aren’t you originally from Adelaide Penbo? As for natural beauty let’s just quickly flick through those Port Phillip bay, Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley, mornington peninsula, and French and Phillip island just to name a few. But let me point out that some of Australia’s best architecture and other man made attractions are in Melbourne. What has Sydney got? Oh that’s right the harbour and the opera house then ‘windswept’ suburb after ghetto after suburb after ghetto all the way out west into the desert. Ok I might go back and read the rest of this article now, what was it supposed to be about again?

    • Matt says:

      07:55am | 15/06/12

      Pretty sure you were the only person in the country who was that taken aback by that single throwaway line my meteorological mate

    • Bill says:

      08:05am | 15/06/12

      Don’t worry Gary.

      The Melbourne-bashing comes thick and fast from both the Punch team and certain commenters (you know who you are). It’s best to just ignore it and understand that people do it because they are jealous that they don’t live in Australia’s best city.

    • S.L says:

      08:13am | 15/06/12

      Why do Melbournians always have to try to prove their city is not a windswept dump?

    • Karly says:

      08:14am | 15/06/12

      Sorry Matt. I too was taken aback by that single throwaway line.  I’m with you, my meteorological mate.

    • Kika says:

      08:46am | 15/06/12

      Melbourne is my favourite city in Australia - and I’m a born and bred Brisbanite.

      The rest are just jealous.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      09:00am | 15/06/12

      You left out the best attraction to Sydney: ALL THE DRUNKS in places like Kings Cross, George St, The Rocks, Oxford Street. Sydney is a place where too much booze is NEVER enough. Surely you see that as a tourist attraction! Who wouldn’t travel to some other place just to get wasted (and don’t forget the drugs which are freely available, especially in Kings Cross!) when after a number of drinks no one knows where they’re at anyway! So eat your heart out Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth. WE’VE got it ALL in Sydney! 

      However, there are a lot of people who do/would prefer small bars so Ms Moore’s idea is not bad in itself. And I certainly wouldn’t side with the AHA. Everybody knows their agenda!  But adding lots of small bars in Kings Cross (the highest density residential community; get that? a neighbourhood just like everyone else lives in, or it should be like that!)  without any plan to decrease all those big, gross beer barns simply means MORE BOOZE. We’re all stocked up. All those industrial barns should head to the CBD where there are and will always be many locales where people don’t live and they have all the infrastructure/ transport to support it.

    • Dan Webster says:

      09:20am | 15/06/12

      Ahem…..Queensland - Beautiful one day, Perfect the next.

      It’s amazing the amount of southern sales managers who insist on visiting our business during winter !!
      I wonder why that is…....

    • emmy says:

      08:08am | 15/06/12

      A West Aust politician (.... Graham) way back in the 70’s introduced legislation for small bars, taverns and wine bars making WA the most perceptive of the States. They have continued with their foresight by NOT allowing pokies in pubs and clubs.

    • Jeff says:

      04:27pm | 15/06/12

      I think you’ll find that was for tavern licences - small bar licences (max 120 patrons) was introduced in about 2006-07 in Perth.  The local AHA fought it tooth and nail but, in hindsight, now that we have more than 60 small bars and restaurants with extended licences, we find the AHA membership expanded with small bar owners and they even have a small bar category in their annual awards.
      Turned out it was good for the AHA, not bad - they just lacked the intelligence or foresight to see that.

    • Jeff says:

      04:27pm | 15/06/12

      I think you’ll find that was for tavern licences - small bar licences (max 120 patrons) was introduced in about 2006-07 in Perth.  The local AHA fought it tooth and nail but, in hindsight, now that we have more than 60 small bars and restaurants with extended licences, we find the AHA membership expanded with small bar owners and they even have a small bar category in their annual awards.
      Turned out it was good for the AHA, not bad - they just lacked the intelligence or foresight to see that.

    • Matt says:

      08:10am | 15/06/12

      Back on topic - the AHA is no stranger to push-polling and exerting to political pressure for its own self-interest, nor is it alone in doing so.  For too long, governments have found it difficult to risk upsetting them.  Hopefully common sense will prevail in Adelaide.

    • Jay says:

      09:13am | 15/06/12

      Sounds like its almost a given. There seems to be so much momentum from all spheres. If I never have to step inside a pub with sports screens, keno or pokies ever again it will be too soon, give me an old lounge, some decent music from someone who knows what they are playing and some non McBeers, thanks.

    • AFR says:

      09:57am | 15/06/12

      Jay, you will also need somewhere to park your fixie. smile

    • Condor says:

      10:17am | 15/06/12

      Does anyone else notice the irony in the pubs and clubs association releasing polling to show that people think there are already too many, or enough, pubs and clubs in a town?

      Is that not a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face?

    • fml says:

      08:42am | 15/06/12

      There needs to be more competition not less, lest the nightlife become stale. Plus not everyone wants to go to a pub and get glassed by a pint, Wine glasses are daintier and hurt less.

    • ibast says:

      10:33am | 15/06/12

      Yep.  It affect Australia brewing companies too.  The big two brewers, which are now foreign owned, dominate the pub market with a market corrupting duopoly.  Small bars help in getting small, Australian owned and run, brewers up and going.

    • fml says:

      12:12pm | 15/06/12

      Too right ibast,

      We have a good microbrewing industry in australia with some great tasting beers. While I like my lager (probably more than most) tasting different beers is one of the great joys in this world.

    • C says:

      08:45am | 15/06/12

      Would back a ban on Penbo talking about anything Adelaide-related. Seriously, have you actually been to Pt Adelaide in the last 20 years? The pubs are empty and the cafes are full; it’s infested with Richards who paid 100k more than they should have for a stacked box on the Port River and now have nothing better to do than call the Police when 20 people get a bit rowdy at the Lighthouse. There is no nightlife in Pt Adelaide any more.

      Much like what’s happening in the Adelaide CB(lol)D. The AHA is most definitely self-interested but it’s all part of a wider battle for survival in general. Many pubs have had a 1am curfew for a few years now and increasing license costs will do little more than force other venues to follow suit. More people moving into the city and the ACC will ensure that, as far away as possible from granting any new licenses (even to small venues), the number of licensed venues in the CBD will only decline. The AHA suck but they’re not only the bogeymen here and that they’re winning the press war with their insulting stupid ‘surveys’ sorta tells you a lot about the way the wind is blowing…

    • hot tub political machine says:

      09:53am | 15/06/12

      I would agree, the Port Adelaide gags *are* still funny - but they are very out of date now.

    • che says:

      11:14am | 15/06/12

      You’re right about the Port, the truck bypass didn’t help either. They tried to make it more upmarket, but now it is just dead at night.

      As for the CBD, what a joke, late at night you almost expect to see tumbleweeds rolling down the streets. Except for Hindley St which is just full of hammered 18 year olds. Rundle st. was once great, but is now too crowded due to a lack of options elsewhere.

    • Budz says:

      08:48am | 15/06/12

      You can’t blame the AHA for looking after themselves, any other lobby group would be doing exactly the same. All we have to do is completely disregard it and move on and give the people the option to go to smaller bars where the music isn’t blaring and they can actually have a conversation. Let the people decide with their feet.

    • Michael says:

      08:56am | 15/06/12

      Woolworths own more pubs than any other entity and so are a major component of the AHA. It is all about poker machines and funnelling people into these gambling centres with an alcohol licence.Don’t blame the AHA ,it is the politicians that make the decisions. You will find that the Labor party are mostly to blame for this dismal state of affairs.

    • tombowler says:

      09:01am | 15/06/12

      Part of the problem is that State Govts. like centralising entertainment as well. By only allowing horrible, purpose-built, pre-fab suburban super-pubs along with a few shit-holes in Hindley St, they make life easier for coppers etc.

      The suburban super-pubs make a fortune (mostly off gambling revenue) and can pay huge licensing fees.

      It’s a proposal that Adelaide sorely needs. Maybe even a nominal ($500 p/a) fee for taverns licensed for fewer than 20 or 30? Open the culture right up to roof-top bars, laneway dives and small rock-pits. There are a few notable poke-free pubs in Adelaide that seem to hang on, the Austral, the Exeter, the Elephant, the Belgian, Bar on Gouger, the Crown and Anchor etc.

      My view is that if punters stop forking over cash to soulless, superpub, hellholes and spend it at unique, character-based watering-holes instead, we might see a change in demographic..

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      10:14am | 15/06/12

      I think that was the thinking, especially in a place like Kings Cross. However, there is nothing easy about policing in KX. It is a nightmare for them, other emergency workers and of course hospital emergency rooms.

      So there is no excuse for high density industrial drinking “nighttime economy” districts.

      It is not about wowserism. And someone else here commented that people THINK that there is more crime with alcohol. Well clearly that person knows nothing about the statistics in KX which even Ms Moore has to acknowledge.  A high density of industrial drinkers and idiots, many of whom most likely don’t know how to behave when sober, don’t get any better with an over the top over the limit blood alcohol level. Act like irresponsible children - or worse - enter a nanny. A no-brainer. We’d all like to think that everyone can handle themselves and are responsible but, let’s get real….

    • wolf says:

      11:17am | 15/06/12

      I was going to ask what happened to the approximately Rundle St precinct in Penbo’s black and white assesement of Adelaide nightlife, good to see they are still alive.

    • che says:

      11:18am | 15/06/12

      I remember going to see so many bands in the city in the 90’s, the crown and anchor was the place to be. I miss those days of bands and real music, that part of Adelaide has been killed, it is so different now. Oh man I feel old….

    • Slothy says:

      11:55am | 15/06/12

      Just dropping in to mention how very much I miss the Crown and Anchor. Tradies, students, local weirdos and nearby office workers, all in one slightly dodgy room which is still the only place I’ve ever been threatened over a pool table by somebody wearing a t-shirt covered in Ghandi quotes.

      Apparently an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind but a pool cue up the jacksie is fair game.

    • C says:

      12:35pm | 15/06/12

      The Cranker is on the up again in some ways after a near-terminal lull but the hard 1am curfew to appease the doucheknuckles who moved in next store suuuuucks, especially when you’re headlining a 3-band line-up and the prog pricks who went on 2nd just couldn’t stop that awesome jam they were feeling and you’re left with a 15 minute window for some badaladadat to keep the 10 people left over drinking until 1:10am.

      Not that I’m bitter.

    • Pedro says:

      09:24am | 15/06/12

      Adelaide? WTF has any of this got to do with Adelaide? Small bars, Clover Moore, Melbourne - I was following the thread - and then it changed gears to friggin Adelaide, where the desert meets the sea. Can we just leave inconsequential Adelaide out of all discussions in future - no matter that it’s the ancestral home of News Ltd? trying to actually think of a small bar in Adelaide. can think of a few pubs where you can get said parmy - Earl of leicester perhaps - but can’t think of any hifalutin small bars.
      I’ll let others express the commonly held views about Adelaide which we from the cosmopolitan civilised centres have.

    • Nihilist#1 says:

      09:43am | 15/06/12

      Wow Pedro, let’s just jump on that hoary old bandwoagon shall we. Please do have an original thought…

    • NathanA says:

      09:47am | 15/06/12

      Do others from the cosmopolitan civilised centres also come with similar levels of unfounded smugness, inconsequential opinions, and lack of reading comprehension?

    • hot tub political machine says:

      10:08am | 15/06/12

      Nihilst, Nathan - you just got succesfully trolled by a 12 year old.

    • Pedro says:

      12:56pm | 15/06/12

      Hot Tub, for your information I just turned 13!
      And who is othe other Pedro at the top of the page?

    • hot tub political machine says:

      03:27pm | 15/06/12

      Correction then,

      Nihilish, Nathan and Hot tub were trolled by a *13* year old. Happy Birthday smile

    • AdamC says:

      09:42am | 15/06/12

      To be fair, Sydneyites seem more aligned to big venues. There is no equivalent of the Ivy or the Argyle (do people still go there?) down here.

      Meawhile, the tide is going out on Melbourne’s bar culture. Thanks to Victorian (in both senses of the word) wowserism, along with a misguided view that most crime is caused by alcohol consumption, obtaining a liquor licence for a bar in Melbourne’s CBD is like sawing your arm off with a safety razor. (I am told.) As a result, there are relatively few new bars opening up, and the whol CBD scene seems to have been preserved in aspic since 2007. Though maybe that is just me.

      The flipside of this is that more bars are opening in inner-suburban locations, especially across Melbourne’s hyper-pretentious inner-north. And trendy pubs are sprouting up all over the place.

      Anyway, I would definitely encourage South Australians to embrace some diversity in their watering holes. The pint of Coppers Pale can happily co-exist with the sangiovese and tapas, along with the perfectly muddled mojito. Indeed, they can all co-exist fine in one evening!

    • andye says:

      12:49pm | 15/06/12

      @AdamC - “To be fair, Sydneyites seem more aligned to big venues”

      This has seriously changed in he last few years in some areas - though the newer small type bars are generally secreted away (often without any signage) so you wouldn’t necessarily know it.

    • AdamC says:

      04:48pm | 15/06/12

      Andye, I do think that is one of the problems with small bar culture. It tends to make the nightlife less democratic. You have to be in the know to be able to find anywhere.

    • hot tub political machine says:

      09:50am | 15/06/12

      Agreed Penbo.

      I’m not sure why the battler brigade is afraid of small bars anyway – as they have a great track record of doing this:

      http://thingsboganslike.com/2011/05/30/229-your-favourite-bar/

      To that place which has happily hidden from the popped pink collars brigade until now.

    • Sally Martin says:

      10:46am | 15/06/12

      Mitchell Street, Darwin- enough said. I’m about to embark on another stint up there and the night life is seriously in need of something a little different.

    • HOPE THEY GO BROKE! says:

      10:58am | 15/06/12

      THE AHA SHOULD BE SPLIT INTO TWO
      HOSPITALITY(1)BARS AND LICENSED RESTUARANTS ETC
      AND TAVERN” (2) WHICH IS TODAY (ALL) THE STANDARD NOW PUB/HOTEL.A HOTEL HAD UPSTAIRS PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION, A TAVERN DID NOT, IT ONLY WAS FOR THE ONWER/STAFF/BARMAN.
      ORIGINALLY TAVERNS WERE AN ATTEMPT, TO MAKE THE OUTER SUBURBS BE PROVIDED WITH A WATERHOLE AS SUCH ,DUE TO LOCAL OUTER COUNCILS FROWNING ON INNER CITY PROBLEMS BEING TRANSPORTED TO THEIR AREAS.USUALLY BUILT IN THE 1960/70’S AND LARGE CHEAP FUNCTIONAL AREAS .UNLIKE THE SMALL INNER PUB WHICH, IF WELL RUN, IN HOTEL MANGEMENT STYLE, WAS EXTREMELY FRIENDLY AND NON DESCRIMINATING,PROVIDED YOU KNEW THE RULES AND MINDED YOUR P&Q’S
      The old original style acceptable for hotel patrons “pub”  as such described when drafting any past regulations…is sadly dead….R.I.P…the fact is this..
      IT DOES NOT EXIST IN REALITY NOW BECAUSE THER ARE VERY FEW OWNER OCCUPIED/FAMILY RUN HOTELS. MOSTLY THEY ARE COPORATE CONCERNS/...6…OWNER INVESTORS OR SO, RUN COMMERCIALLY ALONG STRICT GENERATION X OR Y INSPIRED MANAGEMENT IDEAS AND STRATEGIES
      AS TO SMALL BARS, I DO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE A GOOD CONCEPT BUT ARE GENERALLY POPULATED BY YOUNGER AGE WITH IDIOMS EXPRESSIONS AND PERSPECTIVE OR SOCIO-CULTURALLY BASED AND RUN ON HOSPITALITY LINES OF MANAGEMENT .AND IN GENERAL, THESE DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANYONE WITH GREYHAIR GOING OUT AFTER THE LATE MOVIE OR BEFORE TO WILE SOME TIME AWAY BEFORE SLEEPTIME .........OR EVEN DURING THE DAY IS LIKE EXPERIENCING ....WHAT HE/SHE DOING HERE, GO AWAY WE ARE TOO COOL…...COLD SHOULDER…. IT IS CALLED….. NOT A WELCOMING EXPERIENCE ......COUNT HIS/HER DRINKS IF THEY DRINK ALONE..AND ON THE LESSONS TAUGHT BY HOSPITALITY….. THE SKILL .... WELCOME…..REMEMBER YEAH ...WELL IT HOSPITALITY STARTED WELL…BUT SADLY HAS BEEN LOST..
      IT “THEAMBIENCE PREFERRED” TO DO THIS NOW, FOR ANYONE OVER 55, IS NOW NON EXISTENT, AS HOSPITALITY WITH ITS NANNY LIKE LEGISLATION HAS INTRODUCED CCTV, WHICH IS BEING USED TO FIT UP PEOPLE WITH ALCOHOL CONSUMED, BY EMPLOYING FORMERLY HARD-UP UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE TO MONITOR CAMERAS AT BASE STATIONS ,SO INFO CAN BE RELAYED IN ILLEGAL AND DEVIOUS WAYS TO ENTRAP PEOPLE. IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THE ABOVE RESTRICTIONS IT REQUIRES OR FORCES/COERCES ILLEGALLY , LICENSEES TO FEAR PROSECUTION SO THEY EMPLOY THE CLOWN ON THE DOOR IE THE BOUNCER OR THE DOOR SECURITY PERSONNEL.
      BECAUSE THE OWNER IS NOW NON RESIDENT ON PREMISES THE EXPECTATATION TO COVER ALL POSSIBILITIES IS NOW ENSHRINED IN THE LEGISLATION.
      ALAS A GENERATION OR TWO OF OLDER AUSTRALIANS NO LONGER IMBIBE AT THEIR LOCAL, DUE TO REVERSE DISCRIMINATION, BY THOSE WHO HAVE ONLY LIVED ONE QUARTER OF THEIR LIFE EXPERIENCE
      NOW IF ANYONE DOESN’T UNDESTAND THIS..please..please TAKE YOUR DIAPERS/NAPPY OFF ..............................

    • Zeta says:

      11:11am | 15/06/12

      Dude. Just… No.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      11:48am | 15/06/12

      Ow, my freakin’ retinas.

    • fml says:

      11:49am | 15/06/12

      Did you take your finger off the shift key about half way through?

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      11:53am | 15/06/12

      Yes, the old romantic “local” concept. I don’t disagree with that. I love the idea of ‘A’ /single local where locals gather and socialise etc. But that is not longer. And with @ 200 licensed premises in Kings Cross, how does one ever decide which is their local??? But you’ve got 24/7 trading to decide! 
      And with the increasing licensed density so also does the crime increase. That is the reason for the CCTV cameras.
      No, in reality I don’t believe that the licensees should be responsible for how much anyone drinks but the industrial drinkers rescind all personal responsibility, so…...  is your idea to simple ignore the fighting, yelling in the streets, bashings, glassings and murder? 
      And never mind all the disgusting detritus; urine, vomit. Nice!

    • Simon Of The Internet says:

      12:11pm | 15/06/12

      Can anyone translate?

    • CBR says:

      12:27pm | 15/06/12

      Ellipses…are not…appropriate….punctuation

    • H B Bear says:

      11:09am | 15/06/12

      Liking small bars doesn’t make you a tosser, penning tired, lazy cliches such as:

      “It is kind of amazing that a city such as Melbourne, a cold windswept town unblessed by natural beauty, has transformed itself into an excellent place to be courtesy of a vibrant bar and restaurant culture.”

      does.  The Punch maintains its usual standards.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:15pm | 15/06/12

      H B Bear,
      Melbourne is the Greatest City in Australia. Yes it may be cold at times, windswept even but it is the most liveable city of all.
      Sydney? Pretty site but the people… the most unfriendly, up-themselves, arrogant people anywhere..
      I would love to go back to Melbourne & it is only because of one family member that I stay here. Should they die, I’ll be on my way back there the day of the burning

    • andye says:

      01:16pm | 15/06/12

      @H B Bear - Melbourne is an awesome town, but it is pretty damn ugly. its beauty is in the detail, not the sweep.

      @Robert S McCormack - “Sydney? Pretty site but the people… the most unfriendly, up-themselves, arrogant people anywhere..”

      Most Sydney-siders I know love Melbourne. Yet when I visit Melbourne or meet people from Melbourne there is always someone who wants to tell me how terrible Sydney and its people are. it is the same with people from the country - there seems to be this assumption that it is ok to attack sydney.

      and we are supposed to be the jerks?

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      12:01pm | 15/06/12

      The beer peddling mogils have always pushed the ‘great sport loving, true ocker, one of the mob mates, in the trenches, workers united, all together’ line.

      If you didn’t drink beer you were an outsider. Certainly not a true Aussie.

      When your boy turned 21 (18 now) you took him to the local pub and fed him beer and, of course put him on the ‘man’ track by showing how to roll a cigatette like a real man. You laughed and patted him on the back and told him you know he had been pinching your cigarettes since he was twelve.

      You told him THIS was ‘our’ local and introduced him to all the fellas. You told him about the shifty bastards up at the xxx pub who supported those wankers who played for abc. Keep with our team.

      You told him to stick close to this local and drink the mans drink, BEER.  No son of mine will drink plonk; no son of mine is a poof’.

      Not only should he drink beer, but REAL beer,  ZYX OLD. Not that piss some other pubs push. You warned about the stygma of those wine bars and to keep away from them incase someone we know sees him leaving one and the shame it will bring on the family.

      So now he’s a man. He drinks beer and he smokes. Well done dad.

      So what chance does a wine bar have of succeeding?

    • Me says:

      09:17pm | 15/06/12

      Love it Wazza, that’s poetry, that is!

    • Zeta says:

      12:06pm | 15/06/12

      Going to small bars is like sleeping with models. You think it’s a great, glamorous idea until you wake up in one, half cut, and realise that although they’re beautiful, they’re also kind of awkward, uninteresting, and smell faintly of spew.

    • Granvillian says:

      12:25pm | 15/06/12

      Ow, my sides.
      Funniest thing I’ve ever read in the Punch! Well played, Zeets.

    • Brennie says:

      11:40am | 16/06/12

      Zeta! your awesome

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:10pm | 15/06/12

      acotrell, I don’t think Tony Abbott was, as you infer, “sporting a bar in his budgie smugglers” but I suppose that sort of remark by you just demonstrates where your mind dwells most of the time.
      Small bars are great. You don’t actually have to ‘dress up’ to go into one. OK the old pubs can be great but not if you are the only one sitting in a huge, cavernous bar! Those big bars need to have lots of people in them.
      The small bars are ‘Customer Friendly”, usually the barman/woman are friendly & welcoming but if you just want to sit quietly in a corner reading or doing the crossword, having a quite chat with a frined that’s fine and you don’t have to walk a kilometre to get to the bar for a refill!!
      One small interstate Wine/beer bar makes great Ham Rolls, wads of ham, cheese & really fresh crusty rolls. Heaven!! They also sell decent coffee!
      So far as Adelaide is concerned, I say “Bring’em on!” for most of our pubs, including those arty-farty big modern ones are bloody awful places owned by some impersonal profit-mad internatioanl chain. Those small, cosy, friendly Wine/Beer bars are usually privately owned where the owner actually wants you to enjoy yourself & maybe you will become a regular who drops in for a bit of a natter & a glass after work - particularly nice if you are single, divorced or between bits!

    • Gail says:

      12:45pm | 15/06/12

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • FunkyJ says:

      12:54pm | 15/06/12

      Sorry, but you’re wrong in this.

      Fuck wine bars. Adelaide doesn’t need them.

      What it does need is decent music venues.

      Because the pubs have replaced their stages with pokies, and because all the city pubs have been surrounded by high rise apartments, the music scene, which was fucking awesome in the 90s, has all but died.

      That’s the main difference between Adelaide and Melbourne - there’s no place like the Corner, or the Espy, or the Toff, or the OOM, or Miss Libs, and on and on. There’s no little hidyholes for DJs to play off the wall music like E55, Roxanne’s Parlour, the Croft, and on and on.

      This needs to be encouraged in Adelaide. Adelaide is literally alive during the Festival/Fringe/Womad period, and it’s because music is everywhere. This needs to happen all year round, and it needs the venues and the legislation to support it.

    • Gail says:

      01:10pm | 15/06/12

      Also agreed! But why can’t Adelaide have both? A small bar wouldn’t have the room for the music thing, and if I’m in a nice intimate wine bar I don’t want to hear loud music.  Both would be perfect!

    • che says:

      01:58pm | 15/06/12

      I agree FunkyJ, the band scene back then was really good.

    • JamesH says:

      01:08pm | 15/06/12

      It’s a sad fact that Australia is devoid of imagination and innovation when it comes to nightlife.  I’ve been to bars in other countries with colourful themes and attractions, brewpubs that sell excellent house beers, a “haunted” pub, a “pirates’ ale house” (complete with Jack Sparrow impersonator entertaining patrons) and others.  Australian pubs are embarrassingly uniform and dull.  The AHA is not acting with the interest of patrons or creating viable alternatives to the cringeworthy p*ss houses that we laughingly refer to as pubs.  This is why there are a few closed down ones around Sydney and people shy away from the city in increasing numbers.

    • andye says:

      01:21pm | 15/06/12

      @JamesH - err… you can keep your pirate pub, mate. and “brewpubs”? you mean like a microbrewery? I can think of a few in sydney just off the top of my head.

      I also suggest you do a bit of research, there is a lot more nowadays in Sydney than pubs.

    • renold says:

      01:30pm | 15/06/12

      Coming from Holland, where we spend our “bartime” in Amsterdam in bars which were and are referred to as “brown cafes”...and then coming to Australia…well…...what a rubbish….cold, boring

      Brown cafes are sort of the equivalent of the English pub

    • stephen says:

      07:36pm | 15/06/12

      Our pubs are owned by either Coles or Woolworths.

      And the staff behind the bar are checkout chicks.
      So forget about Cheers on TV, where the barperson might once have played chess, or has gone to the Opera once, or sneered at a New Zealander.
      They now sneer at us - the customer - as if they are twee, and are rushing around to make the world a safer place.

      ps they deserve 5 bucks an hour.

      pps tips are extra.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      10:13pm | 15/06/12

      Everyone sneers at a New Zealander. It’s tradition.

    • James says:

      11:04am | 18/06/12

      Is it be miserable day ?

      I enjoy a night out a good pub.

      I remember when the old Freemason’s Hotel in Fremantle became the Sail and Anchor and started derving Redback, Dogbolter and Brass Monkey Stout instead of Emu Export. Clancys in Fremantle had always served Guinees on tap and now has 4 taps for different craft beers each week, all while doing the best fish and chips in WA.

      Perth has now caught on to the small bar idea and does it well.

      I went out last week and had a couple fo glasses of wine at Andaluz before going over the road to Geenhouse for dinner. All very civilised and managed to catch up with a mate and have good wine in comfortable surroundings while discussing our onsetting middle age. I have over the years sat and drunk 4 or 5 pints with this same guy before or after footy games, the most recent was only a few weeks ago when we travelled to Melbourne.

      Why do we have to choose between small bars or pubs? Are we not mature enough to choose what suits our plans for that night?

    • Suburb dweller says:

      03:08pm | 18/06/12

      There’s more to “Adelaide” than the CBD. In outer suburbia the"pubs” are large pokie-infested hotels many kms apart. If small bars were allowed some would no doubt be opened along the coast (eg in the disastrous development on the corner of Christies and the Esplanade which is still devoid of ground floor retail tenants but would be an excellent “small bar” site).
      ironically, there are some nice “small bars” — they are called Surf Lifesaving Clubs!

    • David says:

      02:41pm | 19/06/12

      Sydney used to be devoid of small bars with character. Now since the new licence laws came in I could name at least 60 scattered around the city and surrounding suburbs. It has made a huge difference to Sydney’s drinking culture for the better. A lot of them are hidden (in basements and lane-ways) so half the fun is finding them.

 

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