BY JOSEPH FENAUGHTY
Oxford Street will be a little less sparkly as of next month with legendary gay club The Midnight Shift set to close its doors on October 1st. The Shift has been a part of the very fabric of Oxford Street for nearly 40 years and will be sorely missed by its regular clientele.
The news was initially broken by one of the Midnight Shift’s most famous and well-loved club nights The Hellfire Club. The fetish and leather party night posted on Facebook:
“Damn! We’ve lost our lovely home at the Midnight Shift. .. So our party on Friday 22nd September will be the last chance to dance with us, dear friends.
“With no other possible venue on the immediate horizon (let’s face it – Mike Baird and Gladys and the Liberal Party have destroyed Sydney’s nightlife) we’ll be packing up the whips and chains, disappointingly short of our 25th Anniversary next March.”
Sydney may see the spicy fetish club make a return, however it seems unlikely with the club promoters saying that the city centre is running out of venues suitable for them.
The future of the building the Shift made home, 85-91 Oxford St Darlinghurst, now faces an uncertain future with a source from the venue saying, “Unfortunately there is no plan at this stage apart from hopefully selling the building.”
The venue faced trouble over the past few years, lessening its opening hours from 7pm to 4am in the past six months, as well as closing its downstairs bar in July this year to only operate its upstairs Shift Club.
The closure suggests further evidence of the negative effects of the Lock-out Laws with the Midnight Shift joining a long list of queer or queer-friendly venues in Darlinghurst that have been forced to close their doors over the past three years.
That list includes, Spectrum, Q Bar, Phoenix and the Gay Bar. Ironically, the Lockout Laws were put into place to protect its citizens yet it appears they have consequently ended up closing safe spaces for the LGBTQI community.
Sydney was once rated the gay-friendliest city in the world, according to a 2010 list by online travel site Expedia, however online accommodation provider Nestpick has more recently ranked it 25th for gay nightlife.
It’s easy to see that the quality of queer life is slipping in our city. When we have the words ‘Vote No’ written in the sky – a skywriter message opposing reform to same-sex marriage laws – over our campest neighbourhoods, in the middle of the very public and often nasty debate over same-sex marriage, City Hub wonders how much more the gay community of this city will be forced to endure.
Visit the Nestpick website listing the best LGBT cities in the world (mentioned in this article), by following this link: https://www.nestpick.com/best-lgbt-cities/