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Sydney's Midnight Shift bought by hotel group that owns Kinselas.

  • Published in Latest

It is being reported on leading trade publication PubTic that the iconic Midnight Shift has finally been purchased by hotel group Universal, who own another Oxford St icon - Kinselas.

The first gay bar in New South Wales, the Midnight Shift closed last year after massive pressures from declining patronage thanks to the states controversial lockout laws.

“For us, it’s just basically trying to revitalise the area. Darlinghurst is such a massive channel out to the eastern suburbs, for transport and basically everything.”

Kospetas says they are planning “a new direction” for the famous gay bar, likely offering more of an open-to-everybody approach, and a greater focus on food & bev on street level. The upstairs club space will be suitably gentrified and ‘multi-faceted’ for use as a performance space or functions.

“Our push is to give each venue a different offering, but also to revitalise the area and bring people back to Oxford Street. It’s such an amazing precinct, so close to the city.

“Where previously the world was gay venues or not, now you’ve got to be open to everybody. Open it up to what Oxford Street is these days.”

The slow-burning deal was brokered by Stefan Ippilito and Michael Marano of Oxford Property Group, which specialises in commercial transactions in the area. Marano says the sale was a boon for all involved.


Sydney's iconic Midnight Shift up for sale

midnightshift forsale guidetogaySydney's gay community may potentially lose one of its biggest icons and supporters, should a buyer take up the offer of the landmark's property without additionally purchasing the licence and bar that resides within.

Listed on a major real estate website today, The Shift's three main buildings (all side by side) on Oxford Street are for sale - a move that has been made shortly after the venue restricted its own operating times to combat the NSW Government's lockout laws.

Step by step, Sydney's late night economy is being destroyed - with many entertainers, DJs, bar staff and subsidiary businesses (like gay media, designers, promoters and suppliers) all refocussing or reducing their activites to decrease overheads in light of restricted revenues, community participation and profits.

What the NSW Co-alition Government fails to realise is that the LGBTQI Bar and Club scene is not just for entertainment, but is a vital element of attracting tourism and business to the area. The bar and club scene is also instrumental in fundraising for charities and services that our community relies on when government funding falls short or does not exist at all.

The Midnight Shift is one of those main players that consistently supported charities, not for profits and other small businesses, not only on the strip - but nationwide.

To lose such an icon would be a massive blow to many areas of the LGBTQI community - both "scene" and non scene.

The real estate listing states that the venue is available for sale with or without its licence and associated trademarks, so we hope that a savvy business person takes up the baton and keeps one of the vital organs of Sydney's Gay community alive.

The current lockout laws have damaged Sydney's international reputation as being a vibrant LGBTQI city and destination.
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