Image for Businessman Posts Epic Essay Damning Lockout Laws, Says Sydney Has Turned Into DetroitImage: LinkedIn | Matt Barrie

Businessman Posts Epic Essay Damning Lockout Laws, Says Sydney Has Turned Into Detroit

Written by Sam Murphy on February 4, 2016

A Sydney business man has posted an 8,000+ word essay exploring just how detrimental to Sydney the lockout laws have been, further highlighting that Sydney’s nightlife, as we once knew it, is dead.

Titled, “Would the last person in Sydney please turn the lights out?” the piece was written by Matt Barrie, Chief Executive at, and has gone viral overnight. It explores just how many venues and restaurants have closed as a direct result of the lockout laws while also detailing the affect the laws have had on Sydney nightlife culture.

“Walk up Bayswater Road, Oxford Street or the Golden Mile and club after club is closed; not just after 1.30am, but permanently,” he writes.

“Every week, another venue or restaurant closes. The soul of the city has been destroyed…On Saturday nights tumbleweeds blow across the main entertainment precincts for Sydney- Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Oxford Street.”

So far, Flinders Bar and the Exchange Hotel in the Darlinghurst area have closed while Kings Cross has lost Goldfish, Soho and Hugo’s among others. It’s not just bars and clubs that have suffered, with Barrie writing that Asian eatery Jimmy Liks in Kings Cross closed, leaving a note that read, “NSW lockout laws cost good people their jobs and have decimated a once great and vibrant suburb.”

“The total and utter destruction of Sydney’s nightlife is almost complete,” he writes, noting that it’s not only venues that it kills. It also hurts, “newsagents, take-away stores, pharmacies, places of accommodation and tourism.” He estimates the the total damage to the economy would be “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Barrie places the blame for this on Sydney’s “ridiculous” laws, which include a 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks. “A special little person has decided that there is a certain time at night when we are all allowed to go out, and there is a certain time that we are allowed into an establishment and a certain time that we are all supposed to be tucked into bed,” he writes scathingly.

“There is a certain time we are allowed to buy some drinks, and over the course of the night the amount of drinks we are allowed to buy will change. The drinks we buy must be in a special cup made of a special material, and that special material will change over the course of the night at certain times. The cup has to be a certain size. It cannot be too big, because someone might die.”

“The world is moving ahead, rapidly. Sydney is not just being left behind, it’s regressing into the dark ages.”

He also notes that Star City Casino and Barangaroo, “were conveniently left out of the lockout area,” and are both coincidentally large sources of income for the NSW Government.

He concludes the essay with a series of photos showing just how dead Sydney is at night right now, and writes, “Mike Baird has turned Sydney into Detroit.”

It’s a vivid reminder of just how detrimental the lockout laws have been on Sydney’s culture, businesses and economy.

He also notes that this is how Sydney used to look:

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