Premier Barry O'Farrell’s new legislation provokes an obvious question. Why should the entire class, including some of its top students, be punished because of the misdemeanours of a few? There's no doubt that action should be taken to avoid turning Kings Cross into a no-go zone akin to parts of Downtown LA. But eating into the vibrant post-midnight culture that Sydneysiders have worked so hard to cultivate, particularly over the past few years, is risky. Not to mention potentially ineffective.
So risky, in fact, that one of the Cross's most bustling hotspots is shutting its doors and relocating as a result. Since opening just months ago, Buns & Balls has established itself as the go-to bar for acoustic and electronic music, classic cocktails, burgers and a spot of Buck Hunter. There hasn’t been a single incident of either violence or out-of-control-intoxication. With its chill, beachy-in-the-city atmosphere, it actually seems like an antidote to some of the big 'problem spots' in the area. But O’Farrell's legislation threatens to compromise trade (and vibe) so severely that the owners are pulling up stumps.
In their ongoing licensing talks, the venue has been given such instruction as “a burger not being considered a meal” and “patrons being seated at all times/not being allowed to stand on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace”. Hmmm. Not sure about you, but last time I ate a burger I felt pretty full. As for sitting at all times, perhaps just a tad draconian? Not exactly conducive to a great night out?
For Buns & Balls, the laws make business practically impossible. So they’re moving. Thankfully, they’ve found a new, as yet unspecified home in the Eastern suburbs, outside of the harsh conditions of the CBD precinct.
Media rep Simon Hancock of SIMON SAYS believes that Buns and Balls will not be the only business to suffer unjustly under the legislation. “Action must be taken to curb alcohol-fuelled violence in our city, but these harsh, ‘blanket’ regulations are not the answer,” he said. “Proposed lock outs will simply put more punters on the streets rather than off, while small, safe venues like Buns & Balls in the area are forced to close due to impossible regulations.”
Read more about what some of our favourite bars have had to say in response to the State Government proposals in our feature.