Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The pub with no plonk
Bizarre things do happen. I dropped in to the Vegas Hotel yesterday evening for a drink with some local friends and as usual ordered a wine, white in this case.
At 'Pie O'Clock' as Bill calls it -- when the pub lays on a nice selection of party pies and sausage rolls -- I returned to the bar for a second wine to wash down the food, thinking this a reasonable desire in a place that serves little but pies, 'piss' and pokies. After all that's why I was there.
But they had only enough white for about an inch in the glass. The barmaid asked someone to get some more and said I could have the splash of wine in the meantime, no charge.
After a while I went back, to be told there was no white. I thought about it and decided I'd simply switch to red. Different bar person, same problem -- an inch of red in my glass was all they had left and nor was any going to arrive. Bemused and needing to wash down a pie, I asked could I have the quarter-glass of wine.
No, I was told, you have to pay for it. OK, I replied, how much for that?
Taken aback, I checked -- you mean I have to pay full price for a quarter-glass of wine?
I refused this kind offer, thinking the wine would have to be tossed down the sink. But no, the bar person got a small funnel and poured it back into the bottle!
For a moment I felt trapped in a Kafka-esque parallel reality.
Aghast at yet another demonstration of poor Sydney hospitality, I left the pub and went home.
There I cooked a delicious dinner washed down with a decent white followed by some Wolf Blas port and a nice cigar (no inhaling!) to the strains of John Eliot Gardiner’s gorgeous recordings of Beethoven 5 and 6.
It was an oasis of cocooned culture in this still struggling city.