Thursday, August 18, 2011

Upscale? They're just landfill between Pubs!

Browsing online news, always good for the light relief provided by the proliferation of semi-literate headlines, occassionally yields some actual news.

One snippet detected this week was a stoush between a between a shopping centre developer in the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane, and the operator of a chain of pubs-cum-alfresco-eateries that are fair smack in the middle of the street/mall.

The shopping centre developer was claiming that the Pig & Whistle pub (now there's a name for you) "lowered the tone" of the surrounds, and wants them "out" of the mall.

The (cough) journalist writing the story called the Pig & Whistle a "backpacker's bar".

It seems the mall is going "upscale" with some pooncey shops selling pooncey gear.
The news article mentioned the following new shops, which - along with some others - will purportedly "improve" the Queen Street mall:
Chanel (a thing you change on your TV)
Louis Vuitton (how to pronouce that?)
Gucci (something you say to babies when you want them to sleep)
Swarovski (Deserter from the Polish army, or leftover letters from a game of Scrabble?)

Actually they are, in order:
Chanel. A perfume shop.
Louis Vuitton. A suitcase shop.
Gucci. Not sure what it sells, but the word is familiar, though pronounced Goochy, just like the Cricketer.
Swarovski. Never heard of it, could be the mountain next to Koscuiszko for all I know.

Mine Host, a reguar visitor to Brisbane, finds the Pig & Whistle very handy. Usually arriving into the big smoke late at night, he checks into whichever pub along Queen Street that would have him, then pops along to the Pig & Whistle for a drink & some late night tucker.

Noticeably absent from the Pig & Whistle:
(a) Backpackers, though there can be a few there, they are mostly in minority. The price of Pig & Whistle drinks will keep them away anyhow.
(b) Bad or Tasteless behaviour. It is mostly well dressed, upscale people, quietly having a few drinks & sometimes a nibble. There is often some very well dressed and very good looking sorts (of the ethnic variety) there, alas they are never alone.
(c) Dishevelled or disorderly patrons. I repeat, it is mostly well dressed, upscale people, the type who would drop dead rather then enter an *ugh* pub.

Mine Host can think of plenty of reason to pop into the Pig & Whistle, despite the inescapable sound system, & the TV screens being tuned mostly to unwatchable rubbish.

Conversely, Mine Host has got to this point of his life without ever knowlingly laying eyes upon any of the 4 shops mentioned above, & can think of no circumstance in which he would ever cross their threshold.

Remove the Pig & Whistle, have only pooncey shops with the nichest of niche markets, & the Queen Street mall will be dead.
And Mine Host would have to move to the Stamford Plaza or the Park Royal.

By all means put in shops that nobody can tell you what they sell, but do not remove the pubs. They are the lifeblood of the Queen Street mall.

Besides, Mine Host has such fun in the Pig & Whistle.
The staff are often barely able to understand his accent, they have little to no knowledge of the Liquor Industry customs in Qld, but they mean well, & are very polite & helpful.
They persist with selling drinks in weird sized glasses.
"Do you want an 'arf or a pint sir?" (NB: they should be asking "7 or 10 sir?")
"er... I thought I was in Queensland"
"(sigh) make it a small one"
Major sin: Pig & Whistle does not keep their glasses in the fridge.

Pig & Whistle is where Mine Host spent one of the most engaging afternoons of the past year, ensconced with his solicitor over a bottle of red, deep in idle chatter. (sigh)

1 comment:

Sackerson said...

Swarowski sells outrageously-priced glass gewgaws, as I suspect Mine Host knows well from airport loafaround duty-free areas; Gucci is e.g. handbags ditto priced.

Seems to me the only problem with the P&W as the mall owner goes snottified is its name.

When pubs try to rebrand as something new and exciting and overpriced, rather than something good, they go for some dreadful theme, suggesting a connection with local history or geography but also that we're much more sophisticated than that. I offer below some suggestions, but surely your readers will come up with far better ones:

Last Night of the Poms
Tall Poppy Field
The Raw Prawn
Corroboree Lounge (we had one in Birmingham some years ago)
Opal Bruce's Bludger Bar
The Sipping Forecast