Sydney’s Nightlife Stuck in Dollar-Driven Hibernation

May 19, 2023
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© Maurizio De Mattei / Shutterstock

Despite government efforts to revive Sydney’s nightlife scene post-COVID-19, locals have let go of their party hats. A recent survey conducted by market research company Ipsos revealed Sydneysiders feel like they’re pulling pennies from between couch cushions to afford a night out. 

For a city that once strutted its peacock feathers of nocturnal charm, Sydney now feels like a Cinderella who missed her curfew. According to new research commissioned by the government’s 24-hour economy office, 50% of locals consider going out a financial challenge – up from 42% from last year. 

On the other side of the spectrum, a sobering 22% view Sydney’s nightlife as affordable, down from 31%. 

It’s not just entry fees and cocktail prices making Sydneysiders’ eye water. An alarming 41% said that prohibitive cost ranked as their biggest party turnoff, making them think twice before putting on their dancing shoes. 

Nighttime Economy Minister John Graham said the rising costs of pints and gigs weighs heavy on residents’ minds. 

“It’s just too expensive to go out at night in Sydney, and it means some people just don’t get the chance to.”

Lack of vibrancy was another thorn in Sydney’s nightlife, with only 47% respondents doubting the city’s diversity. Transportation limitations hint at decreased accessibility, impacting perceptions of Sydney’s nighttime scene as “easy to get to.”

On a different note, the survey revealed men want more e-sports facilities, while women hanker after live music venues. 

The survey of 1,000 Sydney residents was conducted in February and March during the globally famous LGBT+ festival WorldPride. 

To combat the dollar-driven nightlife hibernation, a new fund called “Vivid Venues” will allocate $2 million a year to upgrade venues. The support grant should be “cutting costs for venues” and “pass on those benefits on to customers,” according to Graham.


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