Darlinghurst resident Nicole Van Dijken is sick of her favourite small bars closing early and has found widespread support for her new Facebook page ‘Free to play – Residents supporting Sydney's small bar scene’.

She told TheShout that the group aimed to unite locals in a common aim: a more diverse, unique entertainment industry that is accessible well after midnight.

“Ever been out to see a live show with friends, had a bite to eat and been looking for the perfect bar to finish the perfect night?

You’re dreaming of a small quirky venue full of character and atmosphere, where you can swill a whisky and chat into the wee hours with good friends.

It should be easy, Sydney has an increasing number of small bars just like this, they abound in the nooks and crannies of Darlinghurst, Redfern, Surry Hills, Paddington, Newtown and the inner city…however at the stroke of midnight just when things should be getting started every small bar is shut.

‘Free to play: Residents supporting Sydney’s small bar scene’ is a Facebook group recently started by inner Sydney residents who have grown increasingly outraged that Sydney’s small bars are forced to close early each night due to council restrictions.

The founders behind this group believe the small bar curfew is crushing to the local business economy and it breaches our rights as consumers.

As long as there are patrons willing to participate, small bar businesses should have a right to stay open.

‘Free to PLAY’ has three aims:

1) to show support for small bars throughout Sydney;
2) to champion their cause to the authorities regarding trading hours and conditions; and
3) to inform and empower the community regarding small bar issues.

The more people who ‘like’ the page on Facebook, the more influence the group hopes to have to bring about a change in law that is fairer to local small bar businesses and their patrons.

We have an incredible burgeoning small bar scene in Sydney that has potential to be a world class hub of quirky underground entertainment with charismatic small bars that are completely different to anywhere else in the world.

But currently this exciting new industry is being stifled.

That’s why we started ‘Free to play – Residents supporting Sydney’s small bar scene’ on Facebook.

It’s time residents show the authorities that Sydney has a right to expand its small bar industry beyond the limitations of a midnight curfew.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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