Sydney must now digest the post lockout landscape

Today, Sydney’s lockout laws will become a thing of the past. But while our nightlife may never be the same, some pockets of tradition have proudly endured.

 

 

It’s only taken them five years, but the knee jerk reaction to the 2014 ‘coward punch’ deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in Kings Cross (and a peak in alcohol-fuelled violence) is about to dissipate. 

On the tail of a recommendation from the NSW parliament to review the laws to help flailing businesses ‘urgently’ late last year, the NSW Government has relented. When the lockout laws began, they sparked headlines around the world, and the recent announcement that the NSW Government is rolling out this backflip of sorts (among other changes) has again made world news. The changes will come into effect today.

It’s handy for the government that these changes coincide with the operation of the light rail, meaning more passengers and bigger accolades for the project that’s divided the city’s opinion. They are extending the hours of the light rail service, which in all fairness, may help the city to light back up. 

But, we aren’t completely returning to the heyday of Sydney nightlife from the 80s and 90s, it’s too late for many that have shut their doors, and there are still restrictions. Most notably, ‘The Cross’ is not included in this reprieve; the area will remain covered by the current laws. Reports say that non-domestic violence has decreased some 52% in the area since the laws came in, but according to the government, the area “has not significantly changed” enough to warrant a reversal. 

So, the focus is on the Sydney CBD, as the changes are being implemented there. The 1.30am last entry for all venues, and the restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight will be vetoed. Plus the venues with ‘good records’ have extended ‘last drinks’ by thirty minutes. 

Let’s forget about the booze and music, and think about food venues. Many of the little guys – the late night takeaways and restaurants – died a slow death after the introduction of the 2014 laws.

Ironically, The Cross is now a mecca of fine food restaurants and cafes, so these new laws may see a spate of late night foodie options resurrected to cater for CBD patrons.

 

Let’s forget about the booze and music, and think about food venues. Many of the little guys – the late night takeaways and restaurants – died a slow death after the introduction of the 2014 laws.

 

There has been billions lost in revenue; it seems only the strong survived. Places like Golden Century in Chinatown survived because they are the go-to place for chefs and kitchen staff; the foodies’ late night munch. Frankie’s at the other end of town, serves pizza by the slice ’til the wee hours for their rock music aficionados. 

What about the little guys? Will we see a resurrection of the late night pizza, burgers, pies and kebabs along George Street and the surrounding area? 

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, in Haymarket off George Street, has remained strong. Close to Central Station, Chinatown, the Capitol Theatre and a short stroll from Darling Harbour, the store has remained open until 1am during the tenuous time for late night eateries. Our home-grown legend, has even managed to get a little more famous.

 

 

We wonder if the store with the famous pies and hotdogs will look at extending their hours like its Woolloomooloo brother.

It’s already on a light rail stop, so perhaps the predicted surge in CBD revellers till the wee hours of the morning will encourage them. 

The dialled back restrictions of the lockout laws will see bottle shops open an hour longer. I know what I’m doing after my next theatre sojourn; just like the glitterati, I’ll head home with a bottle of bubbles and a Harry’s Tiger Pie

 


 

 

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