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Iconic Sydney LGBTI club Midnight Shift set to reopen its doors

Written by gaytourism

Sydney drag queen Fran Giapanni. | Photo: Facebook/The Midnight Shift

One of Australia’s longest-running and iconic gay clubs will make a grand return after dramatically closing down last year.

The Midnight Shift located on Sydney’s famous Oxford St unexpectedly closed last year after a 35-year-history.

Sydney’s strict lockout laws were blamed for the sudden closure of the beloved venue. The state government introduced the controversial lockout laws in 2014. They heavily restrict the movement of people between night life venues in some of Sydney’s most popular areas including, Oxford St.

The lockout laws caused late night foot traffic to drop 80% on Oxford St and nearby Kings Cross according to a 2016 City of Sydney council report.

A new hope

Sydney’s LGBTI community rejoiced when it learned that a new company had bought the Midnight Shift.

The Universals Hotel Group bought the club in a June sale reportedly worth AU$12 million (US$8.77 million). Its Group General Manager, Richie Hanes, is confident the company can restore it to its former glory.

‘The Midnight Shift is an amazing venue in a great location,’ Haines told Gay Star News.

‘We are confident in a resurgence in the Oxford Street precinct and are excited about bringing such an iconic venue back to life.’

Universals also owns nearby LGBTI venues, The Oxford, Kinselas and the Brighton Hotel.

Have your say

It launched a community consultation process to make sure the revamped venue is inclusive and exactly what the community wants.

‘The Midnight Shift has a special place in the community, and we want to honor that.  We didn’t just acquire a building – we are now the custodians of something very special for the Darlinghurst community,’ Haines said.

‘It’s really important to us that the community is engaged with what’s happening at the venue, and that they have an opportunity to have a say.’

While there’s no fixed date for Midnight Shift’s relaunch, Haines is hopeful that it will reopen by the end of 2018. He also believes it will help breathe much needed life back onto Oxford St.

‘There’s no doubt that the lockout laws have impacted the precinct over the last four years or so,’ he said.

‘There are, however, some fantastic business owners and community groups working to bring Oxford Street back to life.  The City of Sydney is also working hard to breathe life back into the night time economy.

‘We feel that the tide is slowly changing and, if we work together, we can restore Oxford Street and Darlinghurst generally to the great nightlife precinct it once was.’

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