BY CASSANDRA MORGAN
The owners of Darling Harbour’s renowned La Cita restaurant have blamed the NSW lockout laws for the club’s recent closure.
The 1.30am lockouts and 3am ‘last drinks’ imposed within the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct are blamed for La Cita’s “radical drop in business turnover”.
On June 25, La Cita Latin Restaurant, Bar and Club filed for liquidation under the supervision of Anthony Warner from CRS Insolvency Services.
While La Cita did not respond to requests for comment, Mr Warner had informed City Hub that the owners were blaming the new restrictions for their closure.
In response to customer confusion, La Cita said on their Facebook page that “our business has been put on hold until further notice due to a very delicate internal issue that is out of our hands.”
According to CRS, the business had accumulated approximately $580,000 in debt at the point of filing for liquidation.
Lockout laws were initially enforced in February 2014 by the NSW Government to combat alcohol and drug fuelled violence.
Since then, many establishments have identified the introduction of the regulations as the cause of their financial struggles and, ultimately, the downfall of their businesses.
Fellow Darling Harbour establishment, the Watershed Hotel, is not regulated under the lockout laws, but manager Zachary O’Neill said he could see the negative impact of the laws.
He told City Hub that the restrictions were clearly impacting on economic turnover.
“Obviously that’s plain as day. You see businesses go bankrupt, the actions speak for themselves” he said.
Now La Cita is facing criticism from customers, who claim that they were not notified about the establishment’s closure prior to their pre-booked functions and events.
One Facebook user, Myriam Troncoso, expressed outrage on the establishment’s Facebook page.
“I had a [sic] event booked… NO ONE contacted me prior to tell me that La Cita was closed… I will be lodging a complaint with fair trading.”
Mr Warner, the appointed liquidator from CRS, said his current attempts to secure a sale of the La Cita business name were “unlikely” to succeed.