Open Bars

The smokers and pokers room at my nearby pub.

The smokers and pokers room at my nearby pub.

As I came from home work tonight I wandered past my “local pub”.

Well, strictly speaking in Surry Hills I have a lot of local pubs. In fact, I’m sure I read somewhere Surry Hills has the highest number of pubs per capita, and per geographical area of anywhere in Australia.

But even though I have The Trinity closer to me, The Crown is probably more of a “local”.

Like a lot of pubs in Sydney, these days, they’ve tried to accommodate both smokers and poker machine players.

Thus, they’ve introduced an outside bar.

On the good side, it allows a bit of fresh air into the hotel. It also means that if you have a dog, as I noticed tonight, you can leave him tied up outside and not be too far away from him.

But as I noticed the other morning there are negatives too. For example, at about 7 o’clock on the morning of Father’s Day, I noticed a few inebriated people from the night before still out and about wishing everyone a “Happy F&*#ing Father’s Day”.

Actually it’s not just Father’s Day. It happens most days.

As I’ve previously blogged, the history of licensing laws has had an impact on architectural design of the city’s pubs. So too it seems has the latest anti-smoking laws.

Such are the problems of observation when you have a journalist living in the area.

I had an hour or so to kill before heading off to Swedish class, so I actually popped into the pub for a glass of wine and a bit of revision, which was very pleasant indeed, even if the introduction of the smoking area now means they have something resembling “The Berlin Wall” inside.

I was waiting for my bus to take me down to class.

Speaking of buses, on my way to work this morning, I noticed there was a blitz on bus tickets with maybe a dozen ticket inspectors outside the Norfolk Hotel.

“This bus is clean enough to eat my dinner off”, the bloke who inspected our bus noted as he checked everyone.

Of course, as a journalist, I rang my colleagues to tell them I thought there was a ticket blitz underway.

I almost felt compelled to ring with another story on the way home from Swedish class tonight, however, when I noticed something different.

As I waited for my bus, the driver pulled over somewhat reluctantly over to pick me up.

“There’s no point waiting at this stop. No driver will ever pick you up”, he told me. “It’s just too hard to turn around the corner and pick you up. But keep on trying”, he said.

It was then I felt kinda sorry for the driver. I mean, I could have been a bus inspector. But instead I’m a working journalist with an eye for a good yarn which is probably worse.

  1. I’m sure many country towns would give Surry Hills a run for its money on the per-capita basis. I believe it has a population of 15000 or so. When I lived in the bush I did a paper-round that took in over 8 pubs and several licensed clubs on 5 blocks serving a total population of 4000 or so. There were other pubs/clubs off my route in the same town.

    It’s a bit sad that you can’t even sit in the beer gardens of Australian pubs with your dog, when you can walk right into British (or continental European) pubs and find a few sitting peacefully next to the bar or at tables.

    The smoking areas in many of our pubs are still poorly sectioned off – they’re as ineffective as having a peeing corner in a swimming pool.

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  2. Actually I think you might be right Mike. In a lot of country towns though, the smaller ones, there’s often just two pubs. There’s the pub everyone goes to and the one no one goes to. I didn’t know you lived in the bush. Wow? Where abouts? (That’s such a country-boy thing to ask, “where are you from?”, as opposed to “what do you do for a living?”. It’ll be interesting to see how pub architecture evolves again over the next few years. The pub architecture of Sydney and NSW is such a factor of our licensing laws, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a more uniform approach to pubs as we get more uniform national laws.

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  3. I lived in Gosford, Queanbeyan, Bourke (a long time before you were there!), Urunga and Temora – so a very good coverage of the state. During Temora’s gold-rush days I believe there were over 80 pubs in the town.

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