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A letter to Sydney

Written by
Time Out editors
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Hey Sydney, how’re you holding up?

We know it’s been a rough year. In 2014 they came for your nightlife and you’ve been holding on for dear life since then, trying to stem the fun loss after dark.

But you couldn’t save them all. The Flinders was the first to slink off into the night in the early days of 2015. Gone was the home of late night indie party jams and vodka Red Bulls, the home that had taken over when the Abercrombie went to the big pub in the sky.

You also lost your grip on the underground party bunker Spice Cellar. You tried so hard to pull them back to safety, but even a change of venue to the Imperial Hotel couldn’t save the late night techno raves. The best weekly punk rock parties, queer nights, indie dance-offs and midnight Jenga were stolen from you in one massive hit when the Exchange Hotel shut down, taking Q Bar, Spectrum, Phoenix and Nevada Lounge. That was a low blow.

But we were proud of the way you still got up off the mat. There were little rays of hope that meant you didn’t have to pack away your dancing shoes just yet. Bad Deep triumphantly launched all night parties at the Sly Fox in Enmore, One Day Sundays continued to throw the biggest hip hop Sunday sessions in the city and GoodGod was channeling the Little Engine that Could. But there wasn’t enough steam in the tank at the end of the day, and we’ve had to say goodbye to the greatest mini underground club in the city. All is not lost because Plan B will be taking over the site with fresh blood and energy, but it still stings.

The thing is, we believe in you. We want to tell our international friends that Sydney is where the party is at. We want to say that we have an unparalleled art scene and cultural drawcards which hold their own on a global stage. We want musicians to feel welcome and excited to tour here. We don't want international guests speaking out in shock about our nanny state. We all want a Sydney that is diverse, vibrant, exhilarating and dynamic. Is that too much to hope for?

We know you tried to batten down the hatches and mount an offensive with Keep Sydney Open, and next year, we urge more people to join the fight. To reclaim the streets. But all that effort wasn’t enough to save the likes of Hugo’s Lounge and Jimmy Liks. And it hasn’t been able to keep Newtown as friendly and weird in the face of a deluge of douches on Friday and Saturday nights.

We’re so sorry that 2015 has taken the wind out of your sails, but we have faith you’ll rise again. It wasn’t so long ago we had no small bars at all and look at us now – world class bars hiding in every corner of the city.

A city needs dancing and late nights and live music. What are we all working so hard for and paying such excessive rent for if the cultural life force of our city is allowed to wither and die?

You look like you need a hug, Sydney. You took some big hits in 2015. But you’re not ready to say die just yet, and that’s what we love about you.

x Time Out

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