Nightlife Guide :: Sydney’s first weekend of lockouts

February 26th 2014


Photo: Danny Brown at the Laneway festival afterparty, via Keep Sydney Open

The ‘Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct’ came into force on Monday, meaning that any alcohol-licensed venues that fall within set boundary lines must refuse entry to patrons after 1.30am and must stop the sale of alcohol from 3am.

What’s more, liquor stores are banned from selling alcohol after 10pm (foiling any plans you had of a last-minute spontaneous house party).

The precinct extends from parts of Surry Hills up to The Rocks and from Cockle Bay across to the NSW Government’s very own problem child, Kings Cross. Get more map detail here.

This weekend is no regular weekend, either. The 36th Annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is on Saturday night – the second largest event in Sydney’s cultural calendar after New Years Eve, according to Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

There’s no question that the night-owls of this city are going to have some teething problems with these new rules. (Entirely separate issue: Do owls have teeth?)

However! Try not to fret. It will take more than a curfew to stifle the energy of Sydney’s late night culture. There’s no better time to show your support for your favourite CBD venue – just make sure you’re safely inside the door by 1:30am. Here are our picks of what you CAN do this weekend that won’t disturb the “peace”…



Awesome Tapes From Africa with Yo Grito!
Goodgod Small Club, 55 Liverpool St Chinatown, Sydney CBD
Friday 28 Feb, from 9pm

You might have celebrated the last lockout-free night last Saturday here – or perhaps you’ve never been. Either way, Goodgod Small Club is the perfect place to dance those post-lockout blues away. This Friday night’s Yo Grito! plays host to King Opp (Straight Arrows), Silky Doyle and Jimmy Sing as well as a very special set by Awesome Tapes From Africa, aka, Cassette Lord Brian Shimkovitz. Just get in before 1:30, and stay til late! Check out Goodgod’s handy guide for what you need to know about the lockout for more info.



36th Annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
Oxford St, Flinders St and surrounding CBD area (map)
Saturday 1 March, from 7pm

This Saturday night is the Mardi Gras parade, meaning you have no excuse for being inside a venue anyway! Despite pressure from Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore (and others) for a one-off exemption for certain venues on Oxford St and Flinders St, there are NO EXEMPTIONS TO THE LOCKOUT for Mardi Gras on Saturday – so make sure you and your buddies know the new rules.

If you’re locking yourself in for a rager, consider hitting up the official Mardi Gras Party in the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. It’s located outside of the CBD entertainment precinct, so as they say: “From 10pm to 8am we will party, with full service and no lock-outs.

More info on how the lockouts affect this weekend’s Mardi Gras and which LGBTI-friendly venues are affected here, thanks to the Gay News Network. Check out our guide to this week’s Mardi Gras goodness here.



An Inca Trail with Nu
The Spice Cellar, 58 Elizabeth St, Sydney
Saturday 1 March, 7pm-10am
Free entry (with donation to Keep Sydney Open)

Just announced: in protest of the new lockout laws, Berlin-based Peruvian artist Nu will be presiding over this late-night hub this Saturday. The Spice Cellar is adhering to the new laws and will be serving fruity mocktails between 3am-5am, but are not letting a little lockout cause any grief with SPICE After Hours commencing right on time at 5am.

The night will also serve as a launch of the Spice Cellar’s DJ Degustation’s extension to Saturday nights.

HANDS UP! Free DJs at FBi Social
FBi Social, Level 2, Kings Cross Hotel
Every Saturday, 11.30pm til late

FBi Social’s free DJ night ‘HANDS UP!’ is kicking on for your kick-ons as usual! Starting deep in the night at 11.30pm, get up to level two of the Kings Cross Hotel when you need a break from the crowds and shake what your mama gave you. The hotel will be open until 4am on Friday and Saturday (and until 3am Monday to Thursday)… and there are definitely worse places to be locked in.



Frankie’s Pizza
50 Hunter St, Sydney
Mon-Fri: 12pm-3am; Sat & Sun: 4pm-3am

Frankie’s, the tackiest and greatest Italo-American pizza place in the CBD, have kept their hours unchanged with a stick-it-to-da-man note on their website: “1:30am LOCKOUT 7 days… Yeh, I know.” If you’re up for some free live tunes to fade out that lock’n’loll weekend buzz, hit Frankies on Sunday night and check out Angie + Nathan Roche + Dead Farmers + Sheriff.

Oh yeah, and Queens of the Stone Age are DJing the following Wednesday. Pretty hard to lock those guys out!

Frankie's - Hours


Yep, you can rejoice as your favourite bars in the greater part of Surry Hills and most inner west suburbs remain untouched by the new measures.

You can still drink up and dig in nice and late at Zanzibar in Newtown, which is open until between 4-6am, Monday through to Saturday, and 12am on Sundays. Tokyo Sing Song, a new(ish) venue on King St, is a late night hub for all things wild and wonderful – and it’s open til 6am, Wednesday to Sunday.

Erskineville Hotel (or ‘the Erko’) has unchanged hours as does the Imperial Hotel, Newtown Social Club (hello my $4 pizza friend) and all your favourite hotel-bars in the inner west area.

Or if a good pie is more your thing, Harry’s Café de Wheels in Woolloomooloo stays open until 2am-4am, Monday to Saturday and 1am on Sundays. Pies don’t have curfews and neither should you.



FBi is a founding member of Keep Sydney Open – read our position on the state’s new legislation here.



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