Updated for all your 2014 needs!
If you’re anything like us, this should sound familiar: it’s Good Friday, you’ve got nothing in the house, and there’s some sort of social occasion for which you obviously need a bottle. Except it’s the one day of the year when booze is least available (the grim realisation of which, of course, means it’s exactly the time you need booze the most). So, before you head out around town in a desperate state of alcohol-deprived panic, what are your options?
Sadly, they’re few. NSW has strict laws on alcohol sales on Xmas and Good Friday, which boil down to the following: absolutely no takeaway alcohol (“in any circumstances”, to be even more brutally disheartening, just in case you were planning on bringing an adorable kitten to help you negotiate), and licensed venues can only serve on premises from midday-10pm. So, in other words, bottleshops are closed, but pubs are open.
“Pubs are open!” you bellow with delight, "And the pub near me does roadies!"
Slow down there, speed racer: pubs are permitted to open from noon until 10pm (with a few exceptions), but they can’t sell packaged alcohol at all – so if you’re thinking that the local will allow you to pick up a slab on Friday, you’re sadly mistaken and it's better that we tell you that now before you get your hopes up. There's one loophole: venues that have a producer's license (ie: that brew) may be able to sell their wares.
“OK,” you might justifiably say, “but what of Sydney’s shady-but-loophole-legal delivery services?” Well, they have to adhere to the law on this one too: Jimmy Brings informs us that, as always, they will be closed on Good Friday, presumably sitting on a huge stack of booze and having an amazing party that we can only wish we were attending. This also applies to places that deliver booze with food, so if you’re banking on getting a pizza and a sixer sent over, you might want to think again.
Fancy hotels will be OK, right? Well, many hotel bars will be closed (and those that are open will operate under the above-mentioned restrictions), so unless you’re planning the somewhat-expensive method of booking a room purely in order to clean out the minibar, that isn’t going to work either. If you do, though, leave the snacks. Seriously: $7 for a Toblerone? That's a total rip off.
Things are no better at Sydney Airport: unless you’re buying duty free, the bottleshops are closed. And organising an international round trip purely to grab a few bottles seems downright profligate, even by Time Out Sydney’s notoriously devil-may-care standards.
Casinos play by their own rules to some extent, and while The Star is open in Pyrmont with its many bars and restaurants, they too will sell no takeaways on Friday.
There is one awesome loophole, though: there's a little wriggle room in the law that was designed to allow cellar door sales at wineries, and it is this: if you're a producer, you can do takeaways. Good news for wineries, and good news for microbreweries like Young Henry's in Newtown (their exact words, when we asked them what their plan was for Good Friday, was "I think we will be open 12-7 on Friday at Young Henry's"), and 4 Pines in Manly, which will be open until 10pm. One imagines that demand will be high.
So what’s the best solution? It pains us to say it, since we understand the giddy charms of keeping things loose and spontaneous (ie: we're as disorganised as you are), but the best solution we can provide is to pop around the local and stock up beforehand, or arrange your social engagement around gathering within licensed premises. Hey, it’s what the big J would have wanted.
(Of course, if you happen to know of any interesting loopholes, feel free to recommend them in the comments…).
Who won the Sydney pub awards?