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It’s an all too common storyline lately, we’re not even surprised to hear of another favourite or even another hatted, Sydney venue closing down. While a variety of factors are contributing to the trend (everything from diners that feel ‘easily bored’ to the rapid spread of delivery services), the Sydney lock out laws have definitely had a part to play.
The legislation came into effect in 2014 and since, there’s been a huge hit to the hospitality economy in a city where the scene was once thriving.
Thankfully, in recent months, the NSW government has finally announced the review and impending repeal of the legislation.
Over the last five years, we’ve seen some of Sydney’s key hospitality players making attempts at reviving the food and dining scene in the face of these strict parameters, and while it’s been a valiant effort, it’s been more difficult to convince the fickle Sydney diner to come out when there is less option to stay out and enjoy the company of mates once the dinner table has been cleared.
One such Sydneysider who’s worked tirelessly to ‘Keep Sydney Open’ is Merivale owner, Justin Hemmes, whose latest initiative, This Is Sydney, launched last week and is set to run through the summer. In addition to a range of great events at venues around the Sydney CBD, Merivale venues will offer free gigs and half-price late-night food at the majority of their city outposts, including the yet-to-open Jimmy’s Falafel, which will take up residence in the Ivy Precinct.
For Hemmes, the lift of the lock out laws means venues can finally offer Sydneysiders the experiences they long for during long summer nights, the type you’d find on your summer holidays through Europe. As he told Broadsheet, ‘we want to create a diverse night-time economy that echoes the 24-hour sophistication and fun of the best places around the world. Warm, inclusive, organic interaction and enjoyment, which is something all world-class cities excel at.”
And Sydney should sit amongst the ranks of some of the best in the world, particularly in the past few years when the creativity and innovation of our chefs and restaurateurs has continually delighted diners.
Whilst this silly season will still fall victim to the lull created by lock out laws, the NSW legislations will be lifted on 14 January and we imagine things will ramp up pretty quickly from then, which will be further aided by the continued roll out of the light rail and metro services around the city. We’re looking forward to watching Sydney claw it’s way back to where it belongs in the rank of cities around the world with venues worth going out and staying out for.