The Oxford Art Factory, a popular live music venue in Darlinghurst, and Mr B’s, a hotel in the CBD that hosts DJs and parties, have been given permission to admit patrons and serve drinks for an extra 30 minutes, in an exemption from Sydney’s lockout laws. The venues join five others, namely the Palace Hotel in the CBD, the Arthouse Hotel in the CBD, the Observer Hotel in the Rocks, the Stonewell Hotel in Darlinghurst and World Bar in Kings Cross.
Referring to the Oxford Art Factory, a spokesperson for Liquor and Gaming NSW told The Music Network, “The venue was able to demonstrate a market orientation towards live performances and arts and cultural events, which is the main criteria. It went through an assessment process, where NSW Police were able to provide comment, and the fact that it is a long-established live music venue, with a record of featuring both national and international acts meant that it fit the criteria for a live entertainment extension.”
The exemption extends the venues’ lockout to 2am (as opposed to 1:30am) and allows the serving of drinks until 3:30am (as opposed to 3am). Another 19 venues in Sydney are awaiting the outcome of applications.
Announcing the change via the Oxford Art Factory’s Facebook page, Mark Gerber, CEO and licensee, wrote, “I strongly urge all licensed premises in the CBD, both large and small, to stand with us and apply for this much needed exemption from the lockout laws … The future of Sydney’s nightlife and its cultural vibrancy depends on a united front and a show of strength from all affected venues and the people who use them.
“Change can only come if we all work and stand together to change the tide on the damage that these Draconian laws have caused to this great city of ours over the last three years. Join us and let’s all show them how great and vibrant our city really is!”
The possibility of exemptions for venues hosting live performances, or art and cultural events, was introduced in December 2016, largely as a result of lobbying by the music industry. At the time, John Wardle, director of the Live Music Office, told the ABC, that, even though he “would have ideally liked the lockout to be removed altogether”, “this is a recognition that there have been impacts on jobs and opportunities in venues … It’s a win for the live music office.”