Sydneysiders have enjoyed their first weekend without controversial lockout laws limiting late-night fun, but festivities hardly got off to a bang.
The laws, which were introduced in 2014 after the deaths of one-punch victims Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie, were rolled back on Tuesday everywhere except for former hotspot Kings Cross.
Revellers braced for rainy conditions as they flocked to bars and nightclubs along Oxford Street on Saturday evening.
But while the usual rabble did head out for a night on the town, it was nowhere near the raucous parties that the city used to see.
Revellers pose for the camera on Saturday evening as they enjoy the first weekend free from controversial lockout laws
A group of partygoers wave their hands in the air as they brace rainy conditions on Oxford Street in Sydney
Dressed to impress! People cross the road on Oxford Street on Saturday evening, where they were promised a good night after the strict lockout laws were finally lifted
Partygoers, who donned their best dresses and button ups, are now allowed allowed to enter CBD venues after 1.30am and order drinks until 3.30am.
The city was once famous for its bustling and vibrant nightlife until the strict lockout laws were enforced in the CBD in 2014.
The crackdown brought the lively night-time economy to an abrupt halt and forced almost 200 licensed venues to close their doors.
The lockout laws were introduced by the NSW Government with the aim to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence following the fatal one-punch attacks.
Under lockout laws, nightclubs and bars in the city, Kings Cross and Darlinghurst areas were required to deny entry to punters after 1.30am and stop serving alcohol at 3am.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in November announced the changes would also remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glasses after midnight, and scrap the 10pm curfew on bottle shops.
Night Time Industries Association chair Michael Rodrigues said removing the lockout laws was a ‘turning point’ for the city to get it back on track.
Partygoers, who donned their best dresses and button ups, were allowed allowed to enter CBD venues after 1.30am and order drinks until 3.30am
A trio of friends hold hands as they walk down the drag in Darlinghurst on Saturday evening
Revellers braced rainy conditions as they flocked to bars and nightclubs along Oxford Street on Saturday evening, to make use of the new freedom
A group of friends opt for a rest on the ground as Sydney tries to recreate its once bustling nightlife on Saturday
‘It’s fantastic, the city will entertain locals and visitors in a diverse and inclusive nightlife without being rushed around venues closing early,’ he said in a statement on Monday.
‘It’s the beginning of Sydney getting its mojo back.’
Lord Mayor Clover Moore declared: ‘Sydney is open again.’
‘We know the lockout laws were an overreaction when what we needed was 24-hour public transport and a stronger liquor licensing system to support well-run venues, penalise rogue ones, and spread venues out across the city,’ she said in a statement.
One reveller dressed to impress in an animal print bodycon dress with matching nude high heels
Sydney was once famous for its bustling and vibrant nightlife until the strict lockout laws were enforced in the CBD in 2014
Partygoers opted for bodycon dresses and high heels despite gloomy rain on Saturday evening
The lockout laws were introduced by the NSW Government with the aim to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence following the fatal one-punch attacks
The Premier hopes the decision will inject money into the struggling city – where an annual loss of about $16billion has been reported since the laws were introduced in 2014, leading to mass venue closures.
‘While the extended trading hours will provide a boost for the night-time economy, community safety will always be a focus,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
She said the aim was ‘to ensure Sydney has a thriving, safe and diverse night-life that can be enjoyed by all’.
Ms Berejiklian previously said that the lockout laws made Sydney safer but it was now time to encourage the city’s 24-hour economy.
‘Sydney has transformed dramatically over recent years, and we need to ensure we have a strong and vibrant night-time economy that reflects our position as Australia’s only truly global city’, she said.
Crowds appear to wait in line as Sydney attempts to redeem itself as a city with a thriving nightlife on Saturday
A group of revellers wait in line to be checked by security before attempting to enter an establishment in Darlinghurst
An Ambulance vehicle is seen driving in the city as revellers linger on the street on Saturday
A woman in a red dress talks to her friend, who appears to take a break on the concrete amid celebrations in Sydney on Saturday
We’re open! Crowds were forced to wait in line as Sydney opened for its first weekend after the lockout laws were lifted
Under lockout laws, nightclubs and bars in the city, Kings Cross and Darlinghurst areas were required to deny entry to punters after 1.30am and stop serving alcohol at 3am
A trio of friends donned dresses and high heels for Sydney’s first weekend without lockout laws, since they were controversially introduced in 2014