By Stefanie Collins, editor b&c
As the owners of Applejack Hospitality, Ben Carroll and business partner Hamish Watts have firsthand knowledge of the effects of Sydney's lockout laws, with the pair owning venues that fall both inside and outside the lockout boundary.
“The effects, seeing this first hand from businesses we own outside the laws, particularly SoCal in Neutral Bay that does have a license until two in the morning, you see a lot more traffic late at night in these suburban bars,” Carroll says. “We’ve got a lot more late night drinking crowds at Bondi Hardware than we have ever seen down there.”
And while The Botanist in Kirribilli – a restaurant – usually needs to have a full house ejected at midnight, The Butler – also a restaurant – in Potts Point is basically empty after 10.30pm, with the crowds clearing out to drink elsewhere.
“It doesn’t really affect the restaurant trade but it would just mean that there was just more people around after 10.30 at night, because we do notice that the foot traffic around the area drops off completely. Where at the other venues they’re still buzzing right up until midnight, people have just moved on,” he says.
Even around the brand new Della Hyde on Oxford St, the crowds have left the area by 10.30pm.
“Della Hyde was opened knowing about the laws and we are trying to combat that by trying to create a venue – we saw an opportunity in the market – to create a venue that isn’t driven around late night trade on Oxford St and that’s really focussing on the after work crowd,” Carroll said. “Which we are getting, from 5.30pm we get a good crowd, then again around 10pm it drops off completely and everyone leaves the area.
"Even planning for that, we were surprised by how much the foot traffic completely drops off after 10pm at night.”