Australian skate brand Pass Port is taking a stand against a tide of Sydney pub closures with its latest skateboard collection, Public Tiles.
The series features the iconic tiling of pubs across inner Sydney, spotlighting venues that may come under threat for being in areas of interest to commercial developers.
Photographs of tiling from Cricketers Arms, Shakespeare Hotel, Glengarry Castle Hotel and the now-closed Hopetoun Hotel (Surry Hills) and The Wembley (Redfern), have been used as graphics for the series of six "Public Tiles" decks.
In a two-day escapade, photographer Thomas Robinson and his mate, Pass Port co-owner Trent Evans, decided to immortalise their favourite pubs.
“It is really sad pubs are coming under threat because once a pub is gone, that's it. You can’t recreate the vibe, the fit-out, the genuine warm feeling of walking into a good old pub,” says Evans.
“Sober or not, the tile work on some of the older, untouched pubs has always fascinated me. There is also some really complementing parallels between how welcoming, accepting and social the skateboard and pub world is.”
Evans hopes Public Tiles invokes a sense of nostalgia for the iconic venues that have kept so many young skaters hydrated over the years.
“It’s sad to hear corporations like Woolworths and Coles taking on these places, throwing a shitty Liquorland on the side of it,” says Evans. “Sydney is literately being eaten alive by developers at the moment.” Botany View Hotel is one example of the tension between developers and the hospitality industry, amid proposals for a four-storey apartment development next door.
Nathan McDonald, general manager of the Shakespeare Hotel, says his venue is a hub for skateboarders. “We have skate teams coming through from Volcom and Nike, from the US. Skaters enjoy a feed and a beer at [the] pub and they will want to check out the pub where their skateboard is from, so it’s a great boost for our business,” he says.
“Skateboarders always come for a drink after a big event,” says Cricketers Arms manager, Harry Woolven. “It is interesting to see that connection being made more closely to the skate community.”