Going out after dark in Sydney has been a challenge ever since the NSW government introduced the lockout laws four years ago, but there’s hope on the horizon in the form of a new advisory panel put together by the City of Sydney.
So who is this motley crew of nightlife saviours? You’ll be pleased to read a few familiar names on the list. Heaps Gay founder Kat Dopper is on the list – we named Kat the Queen of the Party at the Time Out Bar Awards in 2017 in recognition of her work in keeping Sydney’s nightlife vibrant through difficult times.
Justine Baker, CEO of the Solotel Group (Chiswick, Aria, Kings Cross Hotel), is on the bill, as is Kerri Glasscock, who has operated Venue 505 in Surry Hills for 14 years and has been festival director of the Sydney Fringe Festival since 2013.
On the small bar front, there’s Joshua Green, general manager of Side Bar, and Joy Ng, owner and licensee of the Bearded Tit. And nightclubs are represented by general manager Greg Turton, from the World Bar.
Repping arts and culture there’s Emily Collins, managing director of Music NSW, plus club owner and DJ John Ferris and James Winter, director of not-for-profit arts organisation Brand X. And Emilya Colliver, founder of Art Pharmacy and Culture Scouts and a member of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Young Ambassadors Committee, will show a hand for retailers in Sydney.
Looking out for public safety, there’s a mix of academics, former police officers and architects. Phillip Wadds holds a PhD in criminology and cultural studies and has been involved in research on Sydney’s night-time economy for the past ten years. Michael Wynn-Jones is a UTS lecturer in building regulations, and John Green, who has 26 years with NSW Police, will be flying the flag for liquor licensing policy.
Suburb champions Stephan Gyory, owner of the Record Store in Darlinghurst and founding member of the Darlinghurst Business Partnership, and Jacob Collier, president of the Glebe Chamber of Commerce, will be speak on behalf of those areas and local businesses.
The panellists were selected from 126 applications, and they’ll meet four times a year with the challenge to invigorating Sydney’s streets after dark. As the lockout laws are state government legislation, the panel won’t be able to challenge that law – but perhaps we’ll see creative solutions to the statewide early bedtime.
Lord mayor Clover Moore said in a statement that Sydney had potential to be one of “the world’s great 24-hour cities”. She went on to say: “While we continue to advocate to the NSW government to relax lockout laws, provide adequate late-night transport and explore licensing reform to allow well-managed venues to continue to trade, we are doing everything we can as a local government to revitalise Sydney’s nightlife.”