This Sydney Bar Canceled Boules After Someone Filed A Legit Noise Complaint

A Darlinghurst wine bar will stage a ‘silent’ protest tonight after the rowdy sounds of courtyard boules drove someone to file a noise complaint with the City of Sydney. 

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Black Bottle co-owner Lucas Cristofle told PEDESTRIAN.TV the bar created a sand pit in the venue’s courtyard last year, allowing patrons to play pétanque, a popular bocce-like game.

“We started doing tournaments in the sun, it’s really cool,” Cristofle said.

“No TV, no shouting, it’s adults, kids, everybody played. Really charming, I find. And I think people really liked that.”

But Cristofle said the initiative came to a halt this year when a nearby resident took issue with the sounds of “metal balls clanking” in the bar’s courtyard.

After being advised by his landlord of the noise complaint, Cristofle said he called the City of Sydney for clarification.

“I said ‘what kind of authorisation are you after?’ I don’t think there’s a form to play pétanque in the City of Sydney,” Cristofle said.

Discouraged by the complaint and worn down by what he sees as over-regulation by the council, Cristofle said he didn’t have the energy to appeal.

However, the fiery response to his Facebook post about the issue spurred him to organise another pétanque game tonight – using tennis balls, as not to offend anyone with any “clanking”.

“Playing petanque which is charming, if anything, bringing a little bit of life in a dying city, in a dying suburb, we get a complaint,” he said.

“That’s why people are angry, and so are we.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the City of Sydney confirmed the council received a noise complaint on April 19 relating to the pétanque court.

“We are investigating the issue at the Black Bottle Café and aim to achieve a solution that satisfies all parties,” the spokesperson said.

“We always strive to balance the needs of residents, businesses and visitors to our city.”

Councillor Jess Scully is also expected to attend tonight’s game as a show of support, but Cristofle remains circumspect about the council’s response.

“It feels so disconnected to get a random call from someone who gets in an office who’s never been in my restaurant, who has never been in Darlinghurst for all you know,” he said.

“You deal with licensing, you deal with police, those people do not go out. They have no interest whatsoever in this industry. The people, the politicians who make decisions, are not involved.”

He said the noise complaint mirrored the changes to Sydney’s culture, which have been accelerated by lockout laws.

“We’re seeing the impact for people like us who shut at 12 anyway,” Cristofle said.

“But the true danger of it all is that it damages the conception of people, about how welcome they are to go out, to entertain, socialise, which is at the core of any society and any city.

“You don’t go to Barcelona and remember the opera, you don’t go to Paris and remember only the beautiful tower. What you remember is what’s behind it, it’s what people make of the city.

“It’s a cultural heritage that makes a city different and makes it welcoming.”

Tonight’s pétanque game will kick off at 5:30pm.