Universal Hotels has continued to strengthen its presence in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, acquiring LGBTIQ bar, Midnight Shift.

It is the fourth acquisition for the pub group in the area in the last 12 months, joining the purchase of Kinselas Hotel for $23 million, as well as the Brighton Hotel and Oxford Hotel. The sum paid for Midnight Shift has not been disclosed, however it has been reported for selling at around the $12 million mark.

Managing director Jim Kospetas believes the once-vibrant city fringe suburb is returning to its status as a Sydney nightlife precinct, and that he wants to work with other hoteliers in the area to help push that message.

“Darlinghurst, while hit hard by the introduction of lock-out laws in 2014, is showing signs of recovery. We plan to work closely with the community and with our fellow hoteliers to revitalise the area as a whole.”

All four of Universal Hotels’ Darlinghurst venues are located on or near the main thoroughfare of Oxford Street, within a 400m stretch. Kospetas commented that they are ideally placed as a gateway between the CBD and Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Midnight Shift was opened in 1980 as ‘a man’s disco’, one of the first openly gay entertainment venues in New South Wales. Over the last 37 years it has become a staple venue for the LGBTIQ community.

Universal Hotels has decided to take its time in figuring out the plans for Midnight Shift, but will ensure that the venue continues to be a welcoming space for its community.

“We respect the Darlinghurst community and also the Midnight Shift’s heritage as one of the state’s first gay venues. We plan to consult at length with the community in order to formulate our vision for the venue.”

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