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Chippendale Favourite Freda's Has Just Been Granted a New 4am Licence

It's big a win for Sydney's live music scene.
By Cordelia Williamson
May 03, 2019
By Cordelia Williamson
May 03, 2019

UPDATE: MAY 3, 2019 — While Freda's new licence allows trading till 4am, no new patrons will be allowed inside the venue from 3am. Revellers inside the venue will be able to continue partying till 4am and continue using the outdoor smoking


Two years ago, Sydney bar-goers rejoiced when Chippendale favourite Freda's got the approval to stay open until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights. Now, seemingly against all odds — with pro-lockout law NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reelected just this March — Freda's has just received the go-ahead for a 4am close on weekends. Plus, its hours from Sunday through Thursday will be extended until 2am.

It's a huge win. And not just for Freda's and its punters, but for Sydney's live music scene in general.

In the four years since the lockout laws were introduced to curb alcohol-fuelled violence, a reported 176 venues have closed. A year-long parliamentary inquiry into the state of Sydney's music and nightlife economy also found that the industry was in "peril" due to the NSW Government's history of neglect, and lack of funding. Hopefully, we're about to see this (slowly) reversed.

Freda's opened nine years ago — long before the lockouts and Sydney's subsequent cultural crisis. Envisioned by owner David Abram, the bar came about from Abram's desire to create a diverse, safe and cultured space where likeminded folk could get together. Since then, it's opened underground Down Under exhibition space and hosted a slew of bands and DJs, and countless events.

While Chippendale isn't in the lockout zone, its bars have still been impacted by the State Government's strict late-night and live music policies.

Kitti Gould

So, although the Berejiklian Government remains, could this grant mean more than just Freda's future?

"We have seen Sydney's nightlife go through a sad and painful decline over the last 6 years. However, this is an important turning point in Sydney reaching its immense potential as a late-night city," said Freda's owner David Abram in a statement.

Since the introduction of the lockout laws, there has been some relaxing of restrictions. More than 20 venues have been granted half-an-hour live entertainment extensions, and Oxford Street, and the surrounding area, has gone lockout-free for Mardi Gras the past two years. And now, the Liquor & Gaming NSW — which comes under State Government jurisdiction — has approved Freda's new two-hour extension, which means it can further its already stellar showcasing of some of Sydney's best and emerging creative talent. It's a serious cultural win.

Despite this being a singular victory, it looks like the government's vice-like grip could be loosening.

Freda's new licence comes into effect immediately so, if you want to celebrate, we suspect the place will be a hubbub of celebration this weekend, with the official 'launch' party next Friday, May 10. We'll keep you updated with what that'll entail.

Freda's hours will be extended until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays and until 2am Sunday through Thursday, effective immediately. To celebrate, Freda's is hosting an official launch party next Friday, May 10. 

Published on May 03, 2019 by Cordelia Williamson


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