Lockout laws claim another victim as popular venue closes
Another one bites the dust.
Thriving live music venue, The Cuban Place, located in the heart of Sydney's CBD, has been forced out of their own venue, saying it can no longer survive amid the state's controversial lockout laws and multi-billion dollar light rail fiasco.
The two-floor venue, known for its live salsa sounds and mojitos, made the sad announcement on its Facebook page last night.
"Our business has been struggling since the lock out laws were put in place and throughout construction of the troubled light rail project on George St," The Cuban Place wrote on Friday.
In the statement, they went on to say that due to increasing rent and failed negotiations with their landlord it has led them to not being able to pay last month's rent on time - adding that they were given little option by their managing agents who locked them out of the venue.
"The managing agents of CBRE advised the landlord to change all locks to lock us out of the venue immediately without notice."
Since their introduction five years ago to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence, the lockout laws in NSW - dubbed the "nanny state" - have continued to be a contentious issue.
It has come at the cost of popular venues including the recent closure of The World Bar, other night spots and the late-night entertainment industry. The laws include regulating entry (by 1.30am), shots and last drinks by 3am.
Mummy blogger Jessica Banzon, who is also the partner of the Cuban Place's owner Lukas, took to Instagram to express her extreme and utter disappointment over the situation. She said they weren't even given a 14-day termination warning.
"We knew it was coming and only on Monday were organising our last dinner and drinks there, but on Thursday evening, he received a notice for immediate termination," she said.
"No 14 day warning. No empathy for the 9 years.
"No consideration for the changing Sydney night-life. Nothing. Just a few hours notice before being locked out with everything still inside … and not only that, but he had to tell his 20+ employees they no longer had a job in the morning.
"I'm so angry, upset, cannot stop crying as I write this," a clearly heartbroken Ms Banzon told her followers.
Since sharing the news on Facebook last night, it has almost instantly attracted comments of shock, disbelief and love for the venue.
"So many fond memories were made at this place for hundreds of thousands of people, including me. I demolished and redesigned the basement bar (and continued to style when needed), but most importantly, I met the man I will spend the rest of my life with - Sydney has lost yet another great venue, but the memories will last forever," she concluded in her emotional post.
The State Government's stricter festival regulations have also been slammed - with high-profile criticism from Californian rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who described the rules as "outlandish" and "stupid" - during their recent Australian tour.
"Did they figure out that stupid sh** in New South Wales yet? Trying to pass that law so it's impossible to put on a concert?" Michael Balzary, known professionally as Flea, asked a crowd during a concert in Geelong last weekend.
"Making it hard for people to go see live music - that's the stupidest f***ing thing I've ever heard in my life."
Under the new arrangements, 14 "high-risk" festivals will need to supply a safety management plan to receive a licence from the independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.
With live music seemingly becoming more affected in any which way you turn in NSW, the CBD and South East Light Rail construction has made it even more problematic for venues, with revellers opting to visit sites away from fences and road closures.
The construction for the 2.1 billion light rail project began in October 2015, permanently shutting George Street from King to Market streets and is expected to be completed by March 2020.
The Cuban Place, located on York Street, thanked staff and customers who supported them from 2009.
"It has been one hell of a ride," the post read, before ending with how truly sorry they are for not being able to have a proper send-off.
"We are really sorry we were not able to host a closing party with you all for one last salsa and plenty of mojitos."
The statement was signed off from Lukas and The Cuban Place team, attached with the Facebook action of "feeling sad".
Since posting it less that 17 hours ago, it has already attracted more than 1000 comments and over 1500 reactions.
"Will you relocate somewhere??? Your club was amazing!!!" a hopeful customer asked.
"Another great place ruined by the NSW government and their atrocious laws … makes me so angry and sad," commented another.
While others expressed the connection they had with the venue.
"Sad sad news! This was one of the most important places for my development as a chef, home of remarkable memories, and I pride myself for being a member of its original team!"
"Hands down this was one of the greatest places I've had the pleasure to work at. So glad I was apart of the original opening crew. So many good times," another, former employee said.
"Omg Lucas, this is not happening? So so sad to hear this, another venue (the only one) in the city that was providing live music and it is sadly closed … this is so disappointing by all means and I hope you guys have the opportunity to start again."