But things will be a little different. For one, the new venue will be called Universal, with the new owners leaving the name to rest in peace. "Universal will be an evolution of the Midnight Shift, rather than a revolution," explained owner Jim Kospetas. He did, however, confirm that the group — which conducted an online survey to gauge what the community wanted them to do with the venue — plans to respect the "special role that it has played for the LGBTIQA+ community" and continue its and long-held legacy of inclusivity.
While the full suite of Universal offerings is yet to be revealed, the jam-packed opening program — which lands on the October long weekend — should give you a pretty good hint of the fun to come. On Friday, September 28, catch a sneak preview of new monthly party FAB, featuring live performances, DJs and drag shows, while new weekly event Satori launches with a bang on Saturday, September 29, promising a healthy dose of creativity in all forms. And on Sunday, September 30, the entire venue's set to fire up for Heaps Gay Resurrection, with a lineup of the city's finest queer talent helping to simultaneously wrap up Sydney Fringe Festival and welcome Universal to the 'hood.
In the past 18 months, Universal Hotels has not only bought The Midnight Shift, but Darlinghurst haunts The Brighton Hotel, Kinselas and The Oxford Hotel, too. These make up its already-large 11-venue stable, which also includes Civic Underground and Middlebar. It's clear that the group has big plans for the area — we just hope that it tries to keep Oxford Street's spirit alive, rather than trying to reinvent it.
Universal will open on Friday, September 28 at 85-91 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. We'll keep you updated on any more details or parties that are announced.