Two more Sydney venues have just been granted longer opening hours as part of exemptions afforded to live music establishments as a result of the Government’s response to last year’s review into the city’s lockout laws.
Darlinghurst’s Oxford Art Factory and Mr B’s Hotel in the CBD have both been granted permission to have their state-imposed lockouts and last-drinks curfews pushed back by an extra half an hour.
“These approvals mean seven live entertainment venues in the CBD and Kings Cross precincts are now able to admit patrons until 2am and serve drinks until 3.30am,” says Racing Minister Paul Toole.
“Oxford Art Factory on Oxford St is a well-known and long established live music venue featuring national and international acts. The later trading times will be welcome news to people who enjoy going out and seeing live music.”
Oxford Art has confirmed that the changes will come into effect immediately, with CEO/Licensee Mark Gerber taking to Facebook to issue the following pep talk to the city’s other venues:
“I strongly urge all licensed premises in the CBD, both large or small, to stand with us and apply for this much needed exemption from the lockout laws. If you are a small bar and are now able to extend your trading hours then look at doing this asap. If you are a licensed venue that can or does already support live entertainment then you should also apply.
“The future of Sydney’s nightlife and its cultural vibrancy depends on a united front and a show of strength from all affected venues and the people who use them. Change can only come if we all work and stand together to change the tide on the damage that these draconian laws have caused to this great city of ours over the last three years. Join us and let’s all show them how great and vibrant our city really is!”
Interestingly, Oxford Art Factory was one of 15 Sydney venues to be ruled totally exempt from the lockout laws in a landmark Supreme Court ruling in August of last year. However, the venue refused to speak publicly about the decision and their late night trading hours remained unchanged, with the Government confirming that they’d directed all of the legally lockout-exempt venues to keep the lockouts anyway.
Reports from an industry insider also claimed that the Government had warned exempt venues to continue toeing the line with the lockouts under threat of the Office Of Liquor & Gaming “coming down hard” on them and “making their lives very difficult” if they failed to comply.
Mr Toole continues: “Mr B’s, on Pitt St in the Thai Town district, is a venue providing Thai cultural events including musicians, DJs and festivals.
“We expect to announce more extensions soon with Liquor & Gaming NSW currently considering applications from a further 19 venues.”
Other Sydney venues to have been granted an extra 30 minutes of trade so far include The Palace Hotel, ArtHouse Hotel, The Observer Hotel, Stonewall Hotel and World Bar.
“I’m very pleased there has been such a strong response from industry to our Government’s relaxation of lockout laws for live entertainment venues,” Mr Toole says.
“The changes are part of the Government’s commitment to create a more vibrant nightlife for Sydney while balancing the need for community safety.”
Meanwhile, anti-lockout activist group Keep Sydney Open has slammed the government’s 30-minute lockouts extension as “paltry”, arguing that “these go-to-bed laws have damaged our communities, small businesses and Sydney’s vibrancy without solving the problem of violence”.
Today’s announcement comes after yet another iconic live music venue announced its imminent closure as a result of the lockouts making business unsustainable, as well as a new study proving that alcohol-fuelled violence is increasing outside Sydney’s lockout zones.
Gallery: The Best Signs From The Keep Sydney Open Rally (October 2016)