With venue closures jeopardising Sydney‘s nightlife, and delivering a swift kick to the livelihood of business peeps, pub and club owners are bending to seriously questionable conditions just to stay one step ahead of the damage caused by lockout laws.

New data via the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing shows 16 licensed venues have been granted exemptions from tough lockout laws in the CBD and Kings Cross since September last year, with one element to the tradeoff being that not a drop of alcohol can be sold after 1.30am (alcohol service usually ceases at 3am under the laws).

The Liquor Act states that an exemption can only be granted to venues with conditions that “will be more effective in reducing the risk of alcohol-related violence in or about the declared premises concerned”. 

What it fails to specify is that opening a venue’s doors to people, but capping the service of alcohol pretty early, is essentially inviting drug use by hanging an invisible sign that reads, ‘Here’s a venue you’re allowed into but no alcohol allowed, so find something else to occupy your time. May we suggest a pinga / cap / line?’

16 Sydney Venues Trade Lockout Exemption For Stricter Alcohol Bans

The conditions also specify that “no entertainment is to be provided during the lockout period (other than gaming [poker machines] or background entertainment).”

To clarify; drinking and listening to music = NOT ALLOWED. Slapping your weekly pay through the pokies = TOTALLY FINE PLEASE CONTINUE.

The Albion Place hotel has agreed to the conditions of the exemption, which also includes banning patrons from buying more than two drinks between 1am – 1.30am, and a range of security measures.

Other CBD venues that have bent to similar conditions include V Bar, Triple 8 Bar, The Criterion Hotel and Scruffy Murphy’s.

In the Cross, the Bourbon and the Vegas Hotel have sold their soul to the devil been let off the lockout hook.

Meanwhile, reps of Sydney’s live music scene are gearing up to launch a full-blown PR campaign that pushes back on the stifling laws.

John Wardle, the policy director of the Live Music Office, revealed earlier this week that the proposed initiative is about “rewarding responsible venues that make a cultural contribution to the life of the city” with exemptions from the lockout laws.

The state government is planning a review of the laws in February next year.

Until then, resume eye-rolling.

Story: SMH.

Photo: Scruffy Murphy’s.