The home of the pickleback is no more. Much-loved late-night party spot The Flinders Hotel on Flinders Street in Surry Hills has abruptly ceased trading. News of the closure was announced on the pub’s Facebook page last week. In the post management was quick to point the finger of blame at the NSW government's controversial lock-out laws.
General manager of the Flinders Daniel Lucas says it was always going to be a challenge for the pub to survive post lock-out. “I think it was eventually going to happen – we were a late-night bar and the lock-out laws just made things too difficult,” Lucas says.
In particular, Lucas sighted the second round of lock-out laws – banning shots and doubles after midnight, among other measures – for sealing the pub's fate. “The laws mean that people just aren't coming to Surry Hills and the Cross anymore; they're going to places like Newtown and Double Bay instead,” he says.
The timing of the laws also hit the pub particularly hard. The first round of regulations was introduced in February of last year – soon after the opening of The Hide, the upstairs cocktail bar in the space formerly housing Duke Bistro. “We refurbished The Hide a year ago, subsidised by late-night trading downstairs. When the lock-out laws came, it became impossible for the two spaces to co-exist,” Lucas says.
The closure of The Flinders comes on the heels of the shuttering of Kings Cross venue The Backroom last year, and amidst continued debate regarding the effectiveness and fairness of the lock-out laws.
The future of the building housing The Flinders is unclear at this stage. What is clear is that the fabulously fun boozer will be sorely missed.