Over the weekend, it seemed that Sydney authorities’ tolerance for anything with even a whiff of alcohol had reached breaking point.
NSW Police had apparently taken issue with the wine list at Paddington joint 10 William Street, claiming it promoted unsavoury behaviour. Yeah, not the wine itself. The bloody chalkboard wine-list.
Co-owner Giovanni Paradiso posted the news to his Instagram, along with an image of the offending chalkboard:
So according to. NSW POLICE FORCE our blackboard with what we are pouring by the glass is promoting unsavoury antisocial behaviour SYDNEY WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING
The story spread pretty much all over Sydney, with cries of “WHAT IS THIS NANNY STATE BULLSHIT” not far behind. Since the harsh lock-out laws have crippled late night industries and forcibly altered the very fabric of this city, nothing irks an adult Sydneysider like being told their wine with dinner is fucking antisocial.
“There’s an undercurrent of disappointment amongst venue-owners,” Paradiso told Broadsheet. “There seems to be a real confusion of drinking and dining [and] when you can trade. We’re very, very frustrated. None of us have had any trouble. The police are painting us all with one brush.”
He told Broadsheet that police took issues with a sign that said “free wine”, which he explained was a cheeky reference to their well-known M.O. of serving substance-free wine, and that the blackboard listings were apparently too close to the front of the restaurant.
“We are a wine bar, so we put our wines by the glass at the front, and hand people a menu when they sit down,” he said. “We’ve had it like this for six years.”
NSW Police, however, are trying to get on top of this negative attention. They issued a statement today telling their side of the story, which begins with them helping an intoxicated woman outside into a taxi (this was the same night as the Rugby 7s game, so Paddington was swarming), and ended with suspicions that the venue, whose license says it operates primarily as a restaurant, was operating as a bar.
“A large number of patrons were consuming wine. A large wine list on the wall made no reference to food service,” the statement said. “No tables had menus on them. A bar area with a large amount of wine and spirits was observed. The kitchen was closed.”
What? You mean to tell me menus weren’t on the tables? Even thought the kitchen was closed? Because nobody orders food at 11pm? And people were still enjoying their wine? And the wine list didn’t even mention that food was a possibility at this up-market restaurant? And it was stored in a nice bar area, instead of shoved out-the-back? SHOCKER.
10 Williams Street’s license means they can only serve alcohol with a meal in a dining area; NSW Police helpfully suggested they get a ‘small bar’ liquor license.
“No action was taken against the business, despite breaches being detected regarding failure of the primary purpose test (operating as a bar not a restaurant),” the police statement said, stressing that the incident took place during a wider police operation targeting alcohol-related violence, anti-social behaviour and compliance with the Liquor Amendment Act 2014.
In case you were wondering, 10 Williams Street is open till midnight Monday thru Sunday, and the menu is right here:
Photo: Instagram / @un_fold_ed.
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