Small bars are set to enjoy more freedoms – including being allowed to open on Christmas Day – as the NSW Government’s 24-hour economy reforms, aimed at revitalising Sydney’s nightlife, are rolled out.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello (pictured below, middle, at the launch of the Bundaberg Rum ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative) said a series of liquor law changes to support live music venues and small bars will begin in time for the busy festive season.
Pubs and clubs will remain closed on Christmas Day but small bars – those with a liquor licence that covers a maximum of 120 customers – will be allowed to trade from 12pm – 10pm.
“These laws will cut red tape and breathe new life into NSW’s 24-hour economy as the hospitality industry continues to recover from the impacts of COVID,” Dominello said.
“From today outdated live entertainment restrictions such as limits on the number of musicians on a stage and the genres of music or types of instruments being played will be automatically lifted from liquor licences.
“Many of these archaic conditions date back decades and now no longer serve any purpose. Getting rid of them will free up venues to expand their entertainment offerings and give music-lovers more options for enjoying a night out.
“Councils will be given new powers to make it easier to remove these types of conditions from development consents.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said small bars and live music venues are increasingly popular in Sydney and regional areas, boosting jobs and their local economies.
“The easing of these restrictions will mean more locals and visitors can enjoy our world-class entertainment venues and it will also help the hospitality industry continue its recovery after a tough year,” Ayres said.
“Small bars that regularly serve meals, host live entertainment or cultural events, or have a retail offering such as a record store now have options to allow minors under the right circumstances.”
The latest changes for the hospitality sector taking effect on December 11 include permitting small bars to trade on Christmas Day and Good Friday, as well as new incentives like 30 minutes extra trading for certain venues in the City of Sydney that put on live music performances and arts and cultural events.
The reforms follow on from the Government’s response to NSW Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s night-time economy, the NSW Government’s 24-hour Economy Strategy and complement recent changes to outdoor dining regulations, which make it easier for businesses to offer alfresco dining.
A new demerit point system that aims to reward well-managed venues, minimise violence and reduce serious liquor law breaches will come into effect on January 1.
Pictured main: Papa Gedes bar in Kent St, Sydney.