Potts Point has always been an entertainment destination. Just a decade ago, Kings Cross was still famous – or infamous – for its wild nightlife.
But in 2014, lockout laws changed the area, coinciding with a residential property boom. So what happens now that those laws have been repealed?
What are the lockout laws?
The lockout laws were introduced in 2014 by the NSW State Government after several tragic deaths, as an attempt to stop alcohol-related violence. The laws introduced curfews on bar entry and restrictions on alcohol sales at bars and pubs in certain central Sydney areas, as well as from bottle shops. Oxford Street, the CBD, and Kings Cross were the key areas impacted.
In late 2019, the laws were repealed everywhere except Kings Cross. Then COVID-19 hit. And, in early 2021, the State Government announced the laws would be repealed in Kings Cross too.
What impact did the laws have on Potts Point and Kings Cross?
As we wrote back in 2017, the lockout laws changed our area in a big way, and almost certainly contributed to a lift in residential property prices. The lockout laws also coincided with a rise in residential development in the area.
True, not everyone loved the quieter atmosphere, with many longing for the big – wild – nights out the Cross used to be famous for. Those against the laws argue that they had a negative impact on Sydney’s nightlife, which led to the closures of many licensed premises.
But others, such as our local St Vincent’s Hospital, remain in favour of the laws, arguing the legislation has saved more than $500,000 in medical costs and potentially several lives.
The one thing everyone can agree on is that after seven years, our area has changed and moved on. It still offers nightlife but it’s a very different kind of entertainment and it’s now unlikely The Cross will ever return to what it once was.
What happens now?
The State Government says it has repealed the Lockout Laws as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, to “stimulate the local economy and boost jobs, while maintaining a focus on community safety.”
That means from Monday, 8 March 2021:
- The 1:30am ‘lockout’ will be cancelled
- The previous 3am ‘last drinks’ will change to 3:30am
- Blanket restrictions on certain drinks, shots, discounted cocktails and use of glass after midnight will be lifted
- RSA marshals and CCTV requirements will no longer apply
- ID scanners will be retained during busy periods
- Police promise they will continue to have a strong presence in the area
When announcing the changes, Premier Gladys Berejiklian argued that Kings Cross has transformed considerably:
“The precinct is now well positioned to continue to evolve into a vibrant lifestyle and cultural destination with a diverse mix of small bars, live music venues and restaurants,” the Premier said.
The ever-changing face of Potts Point
Our area has always been dynamic, changing and evolving. As local, Warren Fahey, says: “What we see it as, is reinvention”.
A night out in The Cross may definitely be different now to what it was a couple of decades ago, but our area continues to be a hotspot for new bars, restaurants and cafes. You only need to walk down Llankelly Place or Challis Avenue to know there’s still a lot of life here, as well as vibrancy and diversity.
While it may be that a different crowd is being drawn to the area, Potts Point, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and surrounds are a great place to call home. We don’t believe the lockout laws being repealed will change this.
In fact, the new lifestyle we’ve seen evolving over the past seven years looks set to stay, and become an attraction loved by locals and visitors alike.