Reporting on venue closures has become a more frequent task. There’s news of rent hikes, fewer diners (with smaller budgets) and large developments scheduling demolitions. And all of it’s contributing to venue owners experiencing burnout.

But there are a few that are closing to simply make space in their lives for other projects.

Here are sixteen Sydney venues that have closed this year (or only have a few weeks left of trade).

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Bistrot 916, Potts Point

The pink-table-clothed hotspot – with its steak frites and coveted happy-hour-only burg – will close its doors this year, with a wrecking ball scheduled to hit the building. “It’s six months until the demolition, and that’s it,” chef Dan Pepperell tells Broadsheet. “Good night, lights out for Bistrot.” But only for its current home – the team’s looking to reopen the adored French diner in the CBD.

Tetsuya’s, CBD

Tetsuya Wakuda’s culinary landmark will have its final service on July 31. Like Madonna and Adele, the world is on a first-name basis with Tetsuya, and the chef’s eponymous restaurant is one of our most decorated. The dining room is world-renowned for its signature: confit ocean trout with kombu, celery salad and roe. The close comes after plans to relocate fell through.

“We have spent the last 18 months planning the move and the new restaurant, so this was not an easy decision,” Wakuda says in a statement. “But sometimes things just don’t go to plan.”

The Sunshine Inn, Redfern

The team behind the cheery Redfern Street bar has called it quits, with last drinks pouring on Saturday June 29. For the last four years, it’s been a favoured hangout for snacky plates and Aussie wines – and $10 bowls of pasta on Tuesdays. But we’ll soon be enjoying cold ones with the team at The Bat & Ball, the massive Cleveland Street pub they’re overhauling. Celebrate the end of the Sunny era with a $15 Negroni, on the menu till they close.

Re, Eveleigh

In February, Matt Whiley’s pioneering bar, Re, quietly called last drinks. But in the same breath, we heard it would be moving into the old La Salut space on Cleveland Street. Slated to open on May 14, the Public Hospitality team – the group behind the new digs – have since cited construction delays as the hold-up.

While Re remains shut, Whiley’s developed a “classic-ish” drinks roster, plus a tight set of cocktails dedicated to saving waste from venues across the hospitality empire’s stable. Public Hospitality is in financial peril, which includes a failed $500 million refinancing attempt, alleged tax raids and reported unpaid super – here’s what we know.

Lucky Kwong, South Eveleigh

At the end of June, Kylie Kwong is stepping away from the kitchen – meaning her weekday- and lunch-only joint will be no more. Lucky Kwong is the first project Kwong and her wife Nel worked on together, and is named for the baby the couple lost to stillbirth in 2012.

“For all the many challenges that come with being in the hospitality industry, I consider myself fortunate for I have had far more positive experiences than negative,” Kwong wrote on Instagram. “These last 24 years have really tested the mettle of one’s character, drawing out strengths I never knew existed, and have instilled deep values which continue to guide my path.”

What’s next for the respected chef? “Space for that which has become closest to my heart … I wish to place all my energy, focus and time into helping share and amplify other people’s stories, particularly the important voices of First Nations people and our multicultural communities, who make Australia the rich and diverse country that it is today.”

Cornersmith, Annanadale

When the beloved cafe announced it was closing, the inner west community was quick to announce its devastation. The park-side vegetarian joint had a loyal following: lines of pre-9am locals, parents and kids fuelling up for play, leisurely catch-ups over snacky Scandi brekkie plates. But it wasn’t to be.

“The Covid years took the wind out of our sails and now the reality is that the hospitality industry, like our food system, is a bit broken,” the team said in a website update. “It seems impossible to do the right thing environmentally, keep customers happy and stay independent and afloat financially.

“It took on a life of its own and like lots of small businesses it has often felt like it was in control of us rather than the other way around … We tried bloody hard and while our passion and purpose hasn’t changed, our bodies, brains and bank balances are a bit exhausted.”

Raja, Potts Point

The Ezra team’s “unapologetically Indian” restaurant closed in May. Ultimately, it was the numbers that made the decision for the husband-and-husband team, Nick and Kirk Mathews-Bowden. “This is the most challenging market I’ve ever traded in, and I’ve been working in the industry for 20 years now,” Nick told Broadsheet in April. “In the last two or three months … you could feel everyone’s ability to dine out getting more and more reduced. I totally understand where people are coming from. Anyone who buys groceries, anyone who pays a mortgage or pays rent – it’s just becoming tighter and tighter and tighter.”

Charcoal Fish, Rose Bay

On Good Friday, Josh and Julie Niland made the shock announcement they were closing two of their restaurants that weekend. The finer takeaway joint Charcoal Fish – where you could get butterflied mackerel, yellowfin tuna cheeseburgers and salt-and-vinegar potato scallops – had its last day of trade on Sunday March 31. The Niland team noted the “variable seasonality” of the harbourside location was a contributing factor to the decision. And with Saint Peter’s impending move into The Grand National Hotel, which has space for a whole-fish butchery, Paddington’s Fish Butchery (that serviced the smaller OG Saint Peter) is no longer needed.

Tempura Kuon, CBD

The deep-fried-and-golden omakase experience closed its doors at the end of April. It was the spot for crunchy tempura – all fried in sesame oil imported from Japan for around $400 a can – with sake alongside. There was rice-vinegar-pickled tress tomatoes plus the classics: prawn, squid and sand whiting. The dining room came from restaurateur Kenny Lee and head chef Hideaki Fukuda, who also own and run Kuon Omakase and Irori Kuon.

Lima Bar, Bondi

First the Warike team closed Lima Bar, its Walsh Bay Nikkei eatery, six months after opening, before reopening by the beach in February, pivoting to flavourful ceviche, tiraditos and causas. The move was spurred on by a realisation that the harbourside location wasn’t right, but the team had higher hopes for Bondi.

Just shy of four months in operation, the team announced it would be closing: “To our loyal and cherished regulars and everyone that gave our small family business a try in the last few months, we want to express our most sincere gratitude for your consistent support and for embracing our passion for Peruvian cuisine.”

Redbird, Redfern

The neighbourhood Chinese restaurant came from a powerhouse hospitality couple, who were locals to the area. Rebecca Lines and Hamish Ingham (Tequila Daisy, Bar H, Banksii) opened Redbird in December 2022, with word spreading quickly about the finer modern Chinese menu (and the golden prawn toast. But, referencing the current financial climate, the pair closed Redbird in mid-May. “The current trading conditions are the toughest we have seen in our time of operating venues,” the pair said in a statement. “With another quieter year approaching, we have decided it is best to call time on our venues.”

Tequila Daisy, the couple’s Mexican-leaning Barangaroo bar and eatery, closed simultaneously.

Bar Grazie, Potts Point

Barry McDonald is a Sydney hospitality veteran. In 2004, he opened the OG Fratelli Fresh (back when it was a provedore). September 2022 brought his 19th restaurant, Bar Grazie, a charming “casually luxe” Italian joint in Potts Point. But in April this year, Bar Grazie closed – with the Sydney Morning Herald publishing an exposé on the “rise and fall” of McDonald.

The article references mounting debt – including owing the head chef, suppliers and investors – and a hidden bankruptcy, McDonald’s flashy extracurricular spending, failure to pay staff super, disappearing tips and an eftpos machine hooked up to McDonald’s personal account.

Hey Chu, CBD

Cuong Nguyen opened Hey Chu in early 2023. The city venue was inspired by the vibrant late-night drinking culture of Vietnam. There were neon lights and handmade paper lanterns covering the ceilings, plus playful takes on the cuisine (think koshikari rice pot pies). But as of Saturday June 15, Hey Chu will be no more. In a statement, the team cited the rising financial pressures of operating in the industry. The closure will also give Nguyen time to focus his attention on his other venues: Hello Auntie and Penelope’s.

Bartolo, Surry Hills

The Crown Street wine bar and restaurant closed in February after five years on the busy block. No comment was made, but the Bartolo Instagram was set to private and at the time of closure the website read: “Bartolo Wine Room is now closed. Thank you for all your support over the past five-plus years. Come see us at Big Poppa’s for all your pasta and wine needs.” But as of May 20, Big Poppa’s is also closed, due to Darlinghurst’s construction works.

Additional reporting by Michael Harry, Lucy Bell Bird and Ariela Bard.