When legendary queer nightclub Midnight Shift closed in late 2017, it was lamented as another Oxford Street casualty of Sydney’s lockout laws.

Then, some good news: Universal Hotels bought Midnight Shift for a reported $12 million in July this year. The acquisition of the nightspot adds to Universal’s growing portfolio of hospitality venues clustered around the nightclub precinct, including Brighton Hotel, The Oxford Hotel and Kinselas, which includes Standard Bowl.

On August 30, after issuing a survey asking for community input into the future of the nightclub, the group announced it would be putting the Midnight Shift name to rest and reopening as Universal.

“The Midnight Shift has given us huge shoes to fill, and we don’t feel that we can do the name justice,” said the nightclub’s Facebook post.

While paying tribute to the special role the venue has played in Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ community, Universal management announced it would become a “safe place for all humans to connect”.

In the next stage of the “evolution” of the club, Universal will open for a three-day launch party. On Friday September 28 there will be drag and DJs (tickets have already sold out); followed by Satori on Saturday, a to-be-weekly house-music party combined with dance choreography and visual projections.

On Sunday September 30, Universal will host the Heaps Gay Rendezvous, the official closing party of the Sydney Fringe Festival. Headlined by South African musician Fortune Shumba, the night promises DJ acts, live music, pole-dancing performances and “roaming art”.

Universal Sydney
85–91 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 8080 7065

Fri to Sun 9pm–4am