Sydney’s controversial lockout laws have officially crept into the inner-west, with several Newtown venues agreeing to trial 3am lockouts on weekends to help improve safety in the area.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, around 10 Newtown venues – including the Marlborough Hotel, Zanzibar, The Bank and The Sly Fox in Enmore – agreed at a meeting on Friday to trial the trading restrictions, as a means for deterring late-night drinkers from moving on to the inner-west bars, after lockouts commence in Kings Cross and the CBD.
“We’re not going to be the last spot for drinks,” said Newtown Liquor Accord chairman Tim Claydon. “Don’t even think of heading to Newtown at 3am after a night out in the city, as you simply won’t get into venues.”
While not as restrictive as the lockout laws currently in place in Sydney’s CBD, venues in Newtown Enmore area will be closed to new patrons after 3am, and those already in the venue before 3am will require a “pass out” if they wish to re-enter.
The venues will also call last drinks 30 minutes before closing time and, as is practice in Kings Cross and the CBD, the sale of shots and doubles will stop after midnight. According to the SMH, embattled Imperial Hotel in Erskineville has remained closed and was not included in the discussions.
Since the controversial legislation was first introduced in February 2014, punters from across the CBD and Kings Cross have taken to migrating to Newtown and its surrounding suburbs in a bid to dodge the 1:30am lockouts and 3am last drink restrictions.
Transgender muso Stephanie McCarthy, bassist for Sydney band Love Maul, was the victim of a violent bashing in Newtown earlier this year. In speaking out after the event, she said Sydney’s lockout laws had contributed to the rise of violence and hate-related assaults on the streets of Newtown.
A spokesman for Keep Sydney Open told the SMH that these Newtown changes were reasonable, because the existing lockouts had already “shifted the landscape” of Sydney nightlife. “It’s become necessary, but it’s as a result of the lockouts,” he said.
The new restrictions will begin with a six month trial on September 1st and will only apply on Friday and Saturday nights.