Amongst a backdrop of turbulent changes in Sydney’s live music scene, there’s some heartening (and exciting) news that the team behind two of Melbourne’s most revered venues are expanding their brand up the East Coast.
The owners of Melbourne’s legendary Corner Hotel and the gem of the north, the Northcote Social Club, have revealed plans to open a new venue up in Sydney’s Newtown, with the perfectly suited Newtown Social Club.
There’s only a Facebook page to go off of at this stage, and even without an announced address or details, the Sydney NSC promises to “offer the same atmosphere that’s known and loved at our Melbourne venues.”
The live music venue will have a self-contained band and described as “a free entry social club with friendly staff, great food, great drinks and all our favourite local, national and international tunes pumping through the place.”
Sydney’s Newtown Social Club will hopefully build on the success of Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club, which started in 2004 from the former site of the Commercial Hotel, and while it’s fellow live music venue, The East Brunswick Club, sadly closed its doors earlier this year, losing out to apartment developers, the NSC – along with the Corner – remain a key part of Melbourne’s cultural scene.
The arrival of a new music venue comes at a time when Sydney’s live music scene needs a serious boost in morale. After the ongoing ‘Save Our Sando’ saga that saw the Sandringham Hotel duking it out with the shady practices of its owners at Commonwealth Bank, the NSW Government looks set on introducing policies to the Sydney CBD that threatens live music venues in other ways.
Bar owners in Kings Cross have also raised their voices against the Premier’s targeting of smaller venues, and refusal to make public the ‘secret evidence’ he claims validates his actions, while the venue owners claim the liquor licensing crackdown will cost them over $1 million a month in lost revenue.
While the NSW Government also has plans to roll out mandatory ID scanning and sniffer dogs on city streets, and a proposal which includes a 1am lockout, the prohibition of selling certain mixed drinks after 10pm, and a ban on the sale of shots.
While the security measures are being introduced to ensure late-night safety and curb street violence, it hurts live music scenes by association. The changes come in response to the street violence that led to the death of teenager Thomas Kelly in a senseless attack in Sydney’s King Cross in July, with the issue of alcohol-related violence becoming a political platform for pokie-lined pub venues and politicians alike.
All recent events that have played out against the backdrop of the City of Sydney council attempting to piece together a new Cultural Policy, asking for public input on ways to improve the city’s music scene, with Lord Mayor Clover Moore saying: “It’s so important for the soul of the city… We need to do more.”
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