Strip clubs, live music venues, and some CBD bars are now exempt from the lockout laws (Sydney)

Much has been said about Mike Baird’s contentious Sydney lockout laws and it’s widespread effect on the hospitality industry and vibrant nightlife that the city’s tourism (and morale) kind of needs. Last week a Supreme
Court ruling may have put a crack in those laws, as there are now some venues across Sydney which will be exempt, specifically live music venues (SCORE!), strip clubs, and some CBD bars.

Protests of up to 10,000 people have bit back against the lockout laws this year, which continue to stunt Sydney’s otherwise sterling growth as one of the world’s most reputable destinations. It seems that this recent ruling, in response to a legal challenge by CBD cocktail bar and restaurant The Smoking Panda, is a step that will at the very least have to serve as a consolation for those who have spoken loudly against these laws.

The official ruling states that strip clubs and live music venues in the CBD will be exempt from the lockout laws, meaning that 1:30am lockouts and 3am cease-service will no longer apply. This means that Sydney institutions like Oxford Art Factory and *cough* Pure Platinum *cough*, as well as several bars in the CBD – including The Smoking Panda – will be able to operate within the framework of pre-lockout regulations. The names of all bars exempt from the lockout laws have not been released to media.

Posting on their Facebook to celebrate the news, The Smoking Panda – who were previously exempt due to being on top of Hotel Coronation but then had the laws applied – posted: “We are pleased to announce that we no longer have a lockout and we will be trading from Wednesday through till Saturday 4pm-5am, Tuesday’s 4pm until midnight. This is active from tonight and we look forward to seeing you guys down at the venue.”

While this is however fantastic news, the lockout laws continue to apply to the majority of pubs, nightclubs, and other venues in across the CBD and Kings Cross areas. Hopefully this ruling also means that a bit of congestion (of absolute dickheads) will be removed from poor Newtown’s plate each weekend, the inner-west suburb having suffered an influx of inexplicably terrible bros and bro-ettes since the lockout laws were introduced in 2014.

Reportedly, the NSW Government have already launched an appeal against the decision to absolutely no one’s surprise.

Image: The Smoking Panda.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.