Just a month after a police raid shut down the venue upon allegedly found staff using drugs on site while working, Sydney’s Imperial Hotel has been slapped with a second 72 hour closure order.
The Erskineville venue, made famous by being featured in seminal Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, has announced it has been been forced, by authorities, to close over the weekend.
A spokesperson for NSW Police said the ban was served due to “breaches of the Liquor Act”.
According to the ABC, a statement from the Deputy Premier’s office details an incident where the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) marshal watched and laughed while a male patron licked a spilt drink off the hotel floor.
The statement also alleges that open drug dealing was taking place inside the venue, that inspectors witnessed numerous intoxicated patrons and one incident of a female patron being assaulted by a security guard that was not reported to police.
Just last month Police raided the famed venue and subsequently charged two staff members with drug offences after officers witnessed them taking ecstasy before continuing to sell alcohol to patrons.
They then issued the venue with its first 72 hour closure order. Soon after the inner-west pub announced that despite its location outside of the Sydney lockout zone, it would be operating within similar service restrictions including restricting “pass outs” after 1am and entry to new patrons entirely after 3am.
“Operating a licensed venue in NSW is a privilege, not a right, and those abusing it will face the consequences,” said Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant today.
“I make no apologies for this Government taking strong and necessary action to protect the community, which we are doing on several fronts including lockout laws and three strikes.”
The forces closure was issued the same day that the hotel’s new owners, the Spice Group International, run by Murat Kilic, announced that its nightclub, The Spice Cellar, will close its doors for good after four years.
In a statement, the owners blamed the closure square on Sydney’s controversial lockout laws. “The current climate for late night entertainment in Sydney has been put under extreme duress,” said the statement.
“The misconception and lack of understanding towards late night culture, combined with the introduction of 1:30am lockout laws has seen many venues close over the past year, putting a grave future in place for Sydney’s late night entertainment industry. Small business owners lack influence and do not have a voice. ”