Beer sits at a peculiar intersection between Sydney’s nightlife venues and the social and political debates surrounding them.
For a website that documents alcoholic beverages in Sydney, mention of Sydney’s nightlife issues is conspicuous by its absence.
It’s come up once or twice before, namely using GABS as an example of how adults can (believe it or not) behave like adults, even when they drink alcohol.
Wider Social Debates
There’s never really been much reference to the Keep Sydney Open campaign on the site, nor the legislation that’s caused much of the debate.
Perhaps this is because beer is only a very small part of that largr conversation. There are wider social and legislative issues.
There is an intersection though. It’s one that’s become more and more evident over the last year or so. Not least because it affects trading hours of small, independent businesses who are hamstrung by red tape.
More broadly, pubs and bars are supposed to provide a third place, away from home and work, for people to congregate and socialise.
Shared spaces, or public houses, are meant to be there for the benefit of everyone in a community. These should provide safe and welcoming environments where communities can come together, where sub-cultures can develop and where people can eat, drink and be merry. At their heart they offer a place for society and culture to flourish.Shared spaces, or public houses, are meant to be there for the benefit of everyone in a community. Click To Tweet
If these community venues aren’t serving their purpose, there’s a much larger social issue at play.
Where Does Beer Fit In?
Within the debate over the demise of these venues, and what the future holds, beer has its place.
The craft beer sub-culture fits neatly into pubs and bars. As a scene though, it’s pretty well served despite restricted trading.
There’s a particular type of pub, however, that has been popular in Sydney for a while. These have become even more attractive through their vocal defiance of lock out laws and the fun police. I refer to them as party pubs.
I’m fortunate enough to live close to a couple; the much-loved Lord Gladstone and the recently re-opened Lansdowne Hotel. These pubs put atmosphere, music and good times ahead of the food and beverage selection (although both do that extremely well too).
Good local beer does feature though. They’re the kind of places that will expose people to quality beer. These types of venues typically have Toohey’s, Resch’s or VB on tap but they also feature Young Henrys, The Grifter, Wayward or Batch.
They’re certainly popular venues and are the kind of places into which small, independent breweries should be trying to get their beer. The pubs get good crowds of people who will drink a few beers on a night out.
There’s also a parallel between these types of pubs and independent beer. Both are an alternative to something larger and blander. Both stand in defiance of the status quo. Both want to provide something better to those around them. Much of the ethos behind independent beer will resonate with people who frequent nightlife pubs.
I have no doubt that there’s a crossover in the demographics that enjoy good, independent beer and those that visit these kind of venues.Much of the ethos behind independent beer will resonate with people who frequent nightlife pubs. Click To Tweet
Craft breweries edging into these venues, serves not only to slake the thirst of a population, but to normalise independent beer in the minds of many.
By no means do nightlife pubs represent the holy grail for brewery sales reps. It’s still a shame for lovers of independent beer that these pubs feature larger multi-national beer brands, particularly through the likes of Budweiser sponsored events. However, they represent an opportunity.
In the spectrum of Sydney venues, these party or nightlife pubs are relatively accessible to independent brewers and provide a good avenue for the growth of quality beer in the city. Perhaps, by creating ties to the community, breweries and venues can work towards making life that little bit easier for those who want to share good times in Sydney.