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Why Melbourne has become so much better for partying than Sydney

The approach to nightlife in each city couldn't be more different

  • Scott Carbines
  • 7 April 2016

It’s 5am in Melbourne and the cheeky question “Revolver?” is thrown in the direction of anyone within earshot. It signals one part of the night ending; a new one beginning.

Where better to spend the early (or late, depending on which way you look at it) weekend hours than with mates, in the warm embrace of house and techno at the Chapel Street clubbing institution. Or, for that matter, any number of other bars and clubs killing it in the city?

Dance music's biggest names are constantly playing Brown Alley, weekly club nights at Boney are packed and The Mercat basement is as sweaty as ever. Put simply, Melbourne is a city at the top of its game.

But further up the East Coast in Sydney, those who want to dance all night can’t.

Lockout laws banning entry to venues past 1.30am and the service of alcohol after 3am in the New South Wales state capital's central business district have been in place since February 2014.

Much-loved haunts The Spice Cellar, Hugo’s Lounge and Soho are just some of the many venues that contributed to the city’s once vibrant nightlife but have been forced to close their doors due to the financial hit from the lockouts.

The freedom to move from dancefloor to dancefloor, experiencing the pulsating heart of the city, its culture and its people, has been stripped away. And you can’t just buy a few beers on your way to a house party instead because the sale of takeaway booze is banned after 10pm statewide in New South Wales. The strict laws are aimed at targeting alcohol-related violence in the city and are up for review in 2016 after depriving Sydney and its people for two years.

The pain of Sydney clubbers, DJs, venue owners and hospitality workers has been felt around the world. People should have the right to share in a life-changing moment of dancefloor hedonism with like-minded others at 4am. It’s a universal experience, but not something New South Wales' conservative Liberal government understands.

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