It’s common knowledge that the character of Sydney’s once-great party precinct Kings Cross has mutated dramatically since the NSW Liberal Government put their controversial lockout laws in place back in 2014.
As we all know (probably too well), after the state’s alcohol curfew came into effect, a number of iconic venues have shut down citing a crippling loss of business, high-end property demand has ramped up with baby boomers and wealthy families flooding into the area, and there’s even been talk of a “secret” $500 million redevelopment plan putting the final nail in the former nightlife hub’s coffin.
And now, just as anti-lockout advocates have begun raising their glasses at the news that one of the first victims of the lockout laws — the iconic Hugo’s Lounge — is set to reopen, the club’s proprietors have issued a sobering reality check.
In a new interview with inthemix, the owners of the venue have confirmed that the new-look version of Hugo’s Lounge will be very different to the old one, with the watering hole to be reborn as an “upper class venue” catering to the wealthy “elites” who’ve migrated en masse into the Cross.
“Since Feb 2014 the location’s overall demographic has significantly altered the character of the area which is now needy of an upper class late night venue,” says Sidney Pierucci. “This is were we step in.”
While managing partner Poata Okeroa explains that the lavish new venue will be renamed “Flamingo Lounge” and separated into two main spaces — The Terrace and The Discotheque.
“The project will pay homage to the historic space formerly known as Hugo’s Lounge, with a return to the simplicity and elegance the era was known for during its 90s debut,” he says.
“Our promise stands on impeccable hospitality in a fanciful atmosphere exuding boho luxe — an all encompassing offering for Sydney’s after dark elites.”
The pair have further confirmed that the venue will work closely with local police to continue implementing the lockout laws, and take a hard line to keep any intoxicated riffraff at bay.
“We definitely hope to be the pioneers of a new era for Sydney’s nightlife,” Pierucci says. “Potts Point has always been a hot spot. Since the introduction of the lockouts, the popularity of development of several apartment projects shows high-demand by affluent professionals for quality housing in the area, which consequently means quality lifestyle and entertainment.”
When Hugo’s first closed its doors back in mid-2015, owner Dave Evans blamed the Government’s restrictive liquor laws for a 60 percent decline in the venue’s revenue.
“We said it would destroy business, we said it would destroy staff,” Evans told Fairfax at the time. “And here we are.”
Hugo’s Lounge Flamingo Lounge will operate two nights a week, with a third night added over the summer season.
There’s no confirmed launch date yet, but inthemix reports it will be sometime in September.
Music Feeds has contacted the folks in charge for more information on the revamped venue’s future musical agenda.