Residents in an upmarket neighbourhood complain a new 17-patron wine bar because they say it will ‘diminish their quality of life’.
Paddington, in Sydney‘s eastern suburbs, is famous for its small suburban pubs that weave into the fabric of the neighbourhood and line its many narrow laneways.
However, the proposal for a new small bar on William Street triggered outcry from some locals who claimed it would cause too much noise, foot traffic, and drunken visitors.
Residents of Paddington in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs believe the introduction of an intimate new wine bar would ‘diminish their quality of life’
‘Our community is in one of the most densely concentrated areas for licensed venues in Sydney,’ Paddington resident Petra O’Neill told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘I believe we have reached a tipping point where anymore, especially one sited within a residential area would diminish our quality of life.’
The commotion has been caused by designs put forth by a local entrepreneur to take his online business into the area.
Elliot Scali, who runs NOTWASTED, an online organic wine store, hopes to convert a fashion store on William Street into a tiny drinking hole for 17 customers with three staff.
Hundreds gather outside Paddington’s Royal Hotel to play Two-Up on Anzac Day
Mr Scali said he had no ambition to create a ‘fully fledged bar’, but instead it would offer an intimate setting for wine drinkers.
‘We will be serving snacks only with a focus on provenance – like the wines. There will be no incentive for people to have more than a glass at a time. This is a very manageable number of people, it will be a light-touch and intimate feel,’ he said.
He hopes to open the bar on William Street, in between two popular pubs; The London and the Paddington Inn, which are two of the most popular in the Eastern Suburbs.
Residents are concerned the wine bar would exacerbate the behaviour they believe is polluting the charming neighbourhood.
‘I found a hotel menu in the laneway against plants at my back fence. I lifted it to find soiled toilet paper and faeces. Another neighbour witnessed a man exit the hotel to urinate. I witnessed a lineup of six men urinating,’ Ms O’Neill told the SMH.
Woollahra Council say residents have gotten used to having the area to themselves during the pandemic (Patrons celebrate winning a game of Two-Up on Anzac Day in Paddington)
There are 65 liquor licenses operational in Paddington. It also has significantly lower rates of alchool-related assault and domestic assault than the City of Sydney.
‘It is an alien element, not appropriate, nor sympathetic to the residential nature of this street,’ president of The Paddington Society Will Mrongovius said.
The group believe the hours put forward by Mr Scali, which would keep the wine bar open until 11pm, are unreasonable and excessive for the narrow, one-way street.
Craig Swift-McNair, general manager of Woollahra Municipal Council, where Paddington is situated, said he believed residents had grown used to having the area to themselves over the past two years of the pandemic and welcomed new establishments.
He said as Sydney began to reopen, there needed to be a balance between support for local businesses and how they may affect residents.