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Locked out? There’s always Newtown

The Imperial Hotel Photo: Wikimedia

As the first weekend of CBD lockouts arrives, some venues in Newtown and surrounds are preparing for an influx of revellers keen to keep the party going.

Penny Clifford, events manager at the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville, said her venue is one of the closest nightclubs to the CBD and is already seeing the benefits.

“We’re obviously getting a lot more promoter parties coming here because we don’t have the lockout and you can drink right through,” she said.

“There’s a chance that we’ll get a crowd that will come out here, which is great for us.”

Rob Murphy, licensee of the Botany View Hotel at the southern end of King Street, said the lockouts would cause more violence on the CBD streets but bring financial gain to venues in surrounding areas.

“Not so many people will go to the Cross,” he said. “It’s certainly not going to hurt us and I believe it will increase the value of suburban hotels.”

Jake Toivonen, who manages the Bank Hotel, expects it will take a while to notice any changes.

“Newtown is actually one of the safest districts in the area and hopefully it stays that way,” he said.

Richie Haines, licensee of the Marlborough Hotel in Newtown, said she didn’t expect CBD drinkers to swarm on Newtown, as it’s a scene that appeals to those who live locally.

“Newtown is vastly different to the club culture of Kings Cross or the drinking environment of George St and we don’t expect the culture here will change,” he said.

“I don’t think people who want to go to a Kings Cross nightclub will want to go to a small bar, restaurant, or pub in Newtown.”

City of Sydney councillor Linda Scott, a resident of Erskineville, said she’d be watching the impact that the lockouts have on Newtown and surrounding areas.

“Although there’s no research evidence currently to show that in other areas where these measures are implemented there has been an overflow of violence…into neighbouring areas,” she said.

“I’ll certainly be speaking and liaising with residents in Newtown and Chippendale.”

NSW Police assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch said police anticipated there will be some movement of people from the CBD to inner suburban areas, and strategies are in place.

“However, it will take a number of weeks, or even months, to get a firm idea of the precise impact of the new measures on areas such as Newtown,” he said.

Tourism Minister George Souris said the new legislation allowed lockout boundaries to be extended if a spike in alcohol-related violence occurs in adjacent areas.

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