After an abrupt closure in 2015 due to lockout laws, Kings Cross’ Hugos Lounge will reopen in February next year.
Co-owner of Double Bay’s Casablanca Eric Jury is behind the project and has one mission: to rejuvenate the now desolate precinct.
Since the introduction of Sydney’s lockout laws, Kings Cross has become a shadow of its former self, with the closure of more than 20 venues in three years. Hugos was one of the unlucky few. In 2015, the owner Dave Evans told Broadsheet: “The real kick in the guts is that well-intentioned but ill-informed laws don’t appear to be solving the problem – they are simply moving it away, while the food, safe operators can’t sustain their business.”
The plan for the venue is not locked in yet but Jury is excited about injecting energy back into the precinct. “It’s going to be different to Hugos, but it will still have a similar clientele. I’m not quite sure what food we will be serving, or what I’m going to call it yet but I know there’s going to be more international DJs.
“Everyone gets happy when you think of Hugos,” he says. “There’s a sense of nostalgia around the venue. So many good times were spent there. I want to capture that feeling and create something new that will still have a Casablanca feel to it.”
Jury will be closing Casablanca next year. He will initially reopen Hugos as a pop-up, with the aim to become a permanent fixture by August. Noise levels will be kept under control by installing sound-proofing technology.
“I’ll also be consulting with Dave Evans [the owner of Hugos for 15 years] on the direction of the venue,” says Jury.