I've spent the past three weeks on vacation. Why? My Uncle decided to fly my family down to Australia. I know, I'm not sure I believe it was real. Having just come off a month long shoot, you would think I would view this as a time to relax. Instead, I maximized my time there and did everything I could. I have this tradition where I go to the oldest restaurant or bar in the places I visit (The current oldest place was opened in the 1100s as a final resting stop before soldiers went off to the crusades). When I got to Sydney, I was delighted to find out that three places battled it out for the title of oldest bar. This debate is so strong, that people have literally gone back to newspapers, legal records, and even old adverts to make the claim. Of these three, one was closed for renovation. So I had to pick between two. The following story is the truth about one of these bars. It's also the reason I chose to go there. Enjoy!
The hero of Waterloo is a non-assuming tavern in the Rocks. With a great location next to the harbor, it's no wonder it was popular with both visitors and locals. Its location wasn't its only draw. Occasionally a guest would come in and order a drink. The bar tended would make it and say "It's on the house." So obviously, you'd be in a great mood. With a free drink, you can afford and extra one. So you go to order this one. The bar tender would say "this one is on the house, too." Obviously, you'd be having a great night. You'd pay for the occasional drink, but most of them were free. The night would be a lot of fun. Finally, as you're to the point that you can barely stand up, you stumble over to order one more drink. The bar tender agrees, and pulls the level for the tap. Suddenly, the floor under your feet disappears. You find yourself in a caged room. You're so drunk that you can't do anything but yell. Eventually, you pass out. When you wake up, you find yourself of a ship in the middle of the ocean.
It turns out that finding people who were willing to voluntarily work on ships as crew was difficult. Places like the Hero of Waterloo would get people drunk, and then use trap doors to get them in the cellar. After the drunks passed out, they'd be carried to the docks in wheelbarrows where they'd be dumped onto the ships to work. There were legends of this happening, and then as time went on, more and more bars revealed trap doors, cellars, shackles, and lower passage ways.
The best part about traveling is learning about new stories and cultures that inspire me. This definitely sounds like a good beginning to a movie. I hope this story tickled you as much as it did me. And if you're ever in Sydney, you should check it out. Just be wary if you're offered a free drink.