‘Anti-social’ wine list targeted by Sydney police

The owner of a bistro in Sydney, Australia, has responded angrily to police accusations that his establishment’s blackboard listing wines by the glass was promoting anti-social behaviour.

10 William Street in Paddington, Sydney (Photo: Twitter)

10 William Street in Paddington, Sydney (Photo: Twitter)

Giovanni Paradiso, co-proprietor of the upmarket 10 William Street Italian bistro in Paddington, Sydney, posted a picture of the blackboard menu on Instagram on Saturday, claiming New South Wales police had said it was “promoting unsavoury antisocial behaviour”, according to Australian news site news.com.au.

Paradiso’s picture carried the caption: “So according to NSW POLICE FORCE our blackboard with what we are pouring by the glass is promoting unsavoury behaviour. SYDNEY, WHAT THE F**K IS HAPPENING.”

People working in Sydney’s hospitality industry have vociferously opposed stringent licensing regulations and perceived ‘nanny state’ laws introduced in a bid to curb drunken and anti-social behaviour in the city.

Some have accused the authorities in the city of launching a ‘war on fun’.

The Instagram post attracted hundreds of comments, some from other Sydney restaurant proprietors, which were heavily critical of the “absurd” regulations implemented under a “nanny state”, and the “conservative Christian crusade” of the Australian government.

Police responded to the criticism of their crackdown on the popular bistro, which sells a wide range of European wines priced AUS$11-20, by saying the venue may not have been operating within the strict conditions of its licence, according to news.com.au.

A police spokesman also said that officers had originally been called to 10 William St to help a “heavily intoxicated woman in the gutter”.

They entered the venue and expressed concern over a blackboard listing available wines, which they said was too close to the door, promoted heavy drinking and did not make clear the venue also served food.

The officers also took issue with a sign outside the venue that said “Real wine, free wine” – which Paradiso said was a light-hearted reference to the restaurant’s additive-free drinks.

Officers reportedly spoke to the duty manager and suggested that it should be operating under a ‘small bar’ liquor licence rather than the Primary Service Authorisation licence – used for premises focused on serving food – under which the restaurant is operating.

No further action was taken.

So-called ‘lockout’ laws – which dictate that no patrons can enter or re-enter a licensed venue after 1.30am and no alcohol can be served in bars after 3am – have been in place in areas of Sydney since 2014 as part of the New South Wales government’s crackdown on drug and alcohol-fuelled violence.

The regulations have reportedly resulted in a 40% decrease in street assaults. However many working in the hospitality industry have expressed concern that they have destroyed the night-time economy in the city.

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