WA Pubs Revisited

Not long ago, I wrote about the sad state of the WA nightlife industry and how government regulation is severely limiting competition in the industry. Perth pubs really don’t care if you come back again or even if you come in at all – it’s not like you have much of a choice.

Punters are frequently refused entry for all sorts of reasons, and new journo Gareth Parker was the target of one of the fashion police recently as he recounts in this post. Gareth was refused entry to the Como Hotel on a Thursday night for the heinous crime of wearing thongs (that’s flip-flops for you foreigners).

As is the current theme in WA, the thought that the pub might possibly be missing out on a fair bit of revenue for no good reason didn’t even cross their mind. (Now that Gaz is a journalist, he is required to drink himself into a stupor every night. It’s part of the journalists’ code of ethics.) They don’t care if Gareth spends his money there or not – they are making money hand over fist in any case, due to the simple fact that there’s no competition.

A valuable insight into the inner workings of the WA Anti-Fun Commission, aka the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor can be found here. The page contains links to the commissioner’s judgements on applications and extensions to liquor licences in WA.

After perusing the lists from 2003 backwards to 1999, I have failed to find a single case of a licence being granted to run a pub in the metropolitan area since 2001. A few applications for hotel bars and restaurants have gone through, but the last real pub to be approved was Carnegies in Murray St. – after an initial rejection in 2000.

Reading through a few examples of what pubs must go through to be “allowed” by the government to run a business is a stark lesson on how ridiculous the whole situation has become.

Here’s some of my favourites:

Metropolis Nightclub, Northbridge: Banned from advertising cheap liquor ($4 for a bourbon and coke is “cheap liquor”?) because a girl was seen leaving the nightclub drunk.

Therefore, pursuant to section 64(3)(ga) of the Act, I have decided that the following condition should be imposed for a three year period, commencing 19 June 2003 and ceasing 18 June 2006:

?The offer, promotion or advertising of free or cheap alcohol, or any promotion or practice which encourages irresponsible drinking is prohibited.?

Diver’s Tavern, Broome: Brought before the DRGL for banning a kid who routinely started brawls and generally acted like an ass, and then threatened to “Get my Dad to shut you down” when kicked out. (His Dad being the top cop in Broome). Judge agreed his ban was legal, but will review the case if they don’t let him back in again in 3 month’s time.

Steve’s, Nedlands: Apparently “too noisy” 1 night a week. (Steve’s Wednesday night session is the one of the major uni student pub circuits, and has been a Perth tradition since before I was born.)

One of the conditions of their continued existence:

Maintain an attractive price differential between the bar price for middies and jugs of low-strength beer versus full strength beer (a 20% difference was suggested, however, the licensee will nominate the preferred price differential)

AND:

Ensure that there are no irresponsible promotions for full-strength liquor both on the premises or off the premises.

Cheap drinks are illegal in WA.

Club 234: Perth strip club censured for offering happy hour that went for longer than 1 hour. The bastards. Also, to quote the judge:

The advertisement prominently promotes the venue as “ESCOBAR” (coincidently, the word “ESCOBAR” is the same as the surname of a notorious drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar).

Coincidentally?

Most importantly, this is a trading name that has not been approved by this authority.

Respect my authoritiiii!

The Nookemburra (proud sponsors of the Scarborough Sharks) gets a mention, apparently having some kind of fight with Wembley Liquor Barons. I’m not sure what the hell was going on here, but whatever it was, the judge found it “commercially motivated and frivolous”.

Lots more to see there. See if you can find how many minute details of the WA Liquor Licencing Act your local pub has violated!

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