Beer or Whine?

September 27, 2007

A hot topic for debate here in Sydney currently is mayor Clover Moore’s proposal for more intimate ‘Melbournesque’ bars and lounges. I have to say I am in 100% agreement with her. Sydney has some reasonable cool bars and a lot of pubs, but for great little Euro-cafes, bistros, wine bars, lounge bars, supper clubs and hole-in-the-wall cool venues, Melbourne wins hands-down.

Right now, Sydney laws mean that in addition to expensive alcohol licenses, you also have to pony up for a ‘social impact analysis’ at roughly $60,000 plus associated legal fees and other nonsense. In Melbourne, a handful of virtually penniless students could open a bar in an upturned skip at the back of an alleyway. And they do. And it works.

The crusty old folk at the AHA, who seem to be stuck in some 1960s timewarp, believe that Sydney folk don’t want to have a nice glass of wine in a small quiet bistro and that large pubs with pokies and sports on TV are what us bogans really enjoy. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong!

I’m glad to see that support for Ms Moore is coming from people like Neil Perry and other notable nightlife owning Sydneysiders too.

I do enjoy Sydney, but having recently returned from a trip to Grenoble in France, we need some good old Euro-chic. Bring it on Clover!

Advertisements

If You Can’t Take the Heat ..

September 25, 2007

I noticed that somebody (probably the owner or manager) at the Bird Cow Fish restaurant in Surry Hills took exception to my review on the Thursday Club site.

At first read I felt bad for caning them. On reflection though, I think it’s they who are missing the point. I do accept that the way we review on the Thursday Club can be somewhat flippant at times. It’s always tempting to go for the cheap laughs, and it’s easy at someone else’s expense.

But here’s what they are missing. For whatever the reason, I had a bad experience there. Happened to be noisy kids, which they couldn’t do a lot about short of ejecting them, and grumpy service – which they could easily fix. It doesn’t really matter why I didn’t like it, the point is, I chose to tell people about it. I didn’t just tell my friends, I told a bunch of strangers. In fact, I told multiple thousands of strangers (going by our web stats).

And that’s the price of entry of doing good business nowadays. Whether buying a car, taking a vacation, picking up a book or choosing a restaurant, you can read the views of potentially millions of other people prior to making your choice. There’s a huge oversupply of everything for those with the means right now. Even in the microcosm of Surry Hills, you can walk down the street and pick at least twenty or thirty alternative venues to eat. If I’d read about someone who had a similar experience to me, where do you think I wouldn’t have eaten?

I’m with Peter Sheahan on this one: if you want a seat at the business table you need to be timely, on quality and perceived good value – *pick three from three*. And then something else…

Bird Cow Fish could have said (should have said): ‘oops, sorry you had a bad experience. We pride ourselves on being a family friendly restaurant [the something else], but why don’t you come back on a xxxday night when things are a little quieter, we have some jazz and it’s a bit more grown up. We’d love to show you our bistro menu’. You get the idea.

I’m not angling for freebies, and I’m sure they really don’t give a stuff if I never darken their door again. But those hundred, thousand, ten thousand other strangers? That’s a whole different story.


Dine With the Dutch

September 10, 2007

Here’s an ‘interesting’ (and for ‘interesting’, read ‘completely nuts’) idea from those craaazzzy Dutch: why not have dinner with a Dutch person?

Crazy Dutch

Yep, if you’ve ever had a hankering to get into some fish soup with a Dutch taxi driver, or discuss politics over a Schoenlapperspudding with a suburban housewife, the above site will be right up your alley!

Maybe I’m missing the point, but having lived in Holland for a year I think I’m reasonably well placed to say that the Dutch, as friendly as they are, are also a bit, well, boring!

Give me ‘dinner with a drug lord’, ‘lunch with a loony’, or ‘meals with a Masai warrior’ and I reckon that could be kind of fun. Scary, but fun nonetheless.

Still, I guess it beats ‘breakfast with a Belgian’ 🙂