One of Sydney’s most beloved venues The Flinders Hotel, has suddenly shut up shop, placing the blame of its closure on the NSW Government’s controversial lockout laws.
The Flinders announced its closure on Thursday night with only a few hours of notice, by posting to Facebook. “It’s been a good run but Barry got us in the end,” they wrote in reference to former NSW Premiere Barry O’Farrell who ushered in the controversial laws.
“We know it’s sudden but please come in tonight and pour one out for your fallen homie. Thanks for all the good times. Peace, love, and picklebacks, from all of us at the flinders.” The beloved regularly hosted live music performances.
Flinders Hotel licensee Jason Ryan told the Star Observer the lockout laws caused a 60 per cent downturn in business and gave him no choice but to close down the venue and lay off 10 staff members.
“It’s a dire situation. Most of my trade was between midnight and 5am on Friday and Saturday nights and not being able to let people in after 1.30am and serve after 3am literally killed my business,” he said. “It’s no different to renting a shop in Westfield and being told you can only operate a couple of hours a day. We were stuffed, basically.”
The Flinders now joins a list of Sydney venues that have announced their closure since the laws came into effect and many more small businesses in the areas governed by the legislation, which enforce 1:30am lockouts and 3am last-calls for drinks, have been struggling in recent months.
Kings Cross venue The Bourbon recently announced that they were up for sale, citing the lockout laws as one of the factors, as did neighbouring Kings Cross venue The Backroom. “Things haven’t been working for a while. Plain and simple, it is the lockout laws that have definitely affected our closing,” venue owner Raul Gonzales said last year.
Barry O’Farrell, who quit state politics last November, garnered further criticism last year when informed about The Backroom’s closure, responding to the news with the hashtag #notearsshed”. Last year a NSW committee recommended the laws be reviewed at the “earliest possible stage”.