10:01pm - "sorry ma'am you can't have a Cosmopolitan."
When you imagine a sophisticated mature woman who has just exited the Civic Theatre after watching the latest performance of some Shakespeare classic being told that, it starts to seem a little ridiculous doesn't it?
I don't feel like I am alone in loving a drink after witnessing an exciting performance. Normally I refer to it as a "calm down drink" when we walk out of a venue. I just like sitting down in a venue to have a nice conversation about what you watched together. It's not the beginning of a binge night of drinking, it's what others might refer to as a nightcap. But in Newcastle after 10pm in many ways that doesn't exist.
Novocastrians need to accept that there was a problem happening in the city after dark. Much of this problem was tied in with venues relating to drinking alcohol. Violence wasn't uncommon to witness out on the street near any of these venues or in-between them.
At a point in this issue the local liquor and gaming authority imposed conditions on 14 late trading venues and blanket rules on the service of alcohol including the service of cocktails after 10pm. At a later point, these late night trading venues implemented the scanner systems we see today and data suggests that there is a much closer relationship to the downward trend in violence reports with these being implemented than there is with alcohol restrictions.
The time since both these changes has seen our city drastically change.
We are about to witness the completion of a major inner-city transport solution to transform the way Newcastle uses the city and a University campus that is a beacon for what we as Novocastrians are capable of as a global destination.
People are moving back into the city and that has an impact as well.
At the same time, cultural change is happening both here at home and internationally.
Australian Hotels Association (AHA) representative for Newcastle is helping with a push for a #FairGoForNewcastle around this topic. It is pretty easy to get tied up in the idea that they are in it for the cash, sure a change would probably help these venues bottom line and I'm not sure I personally consider what I think is a pretty tacky marketing push in this meme still to be necessarily doing them any favours, I definitely agree with the sentiment.
Personally, I don't really consider 10pm to be all that late at night. Probably as a result of my professional life I'm often up late and it is sad that there aren't late night options to head out for a quiet cocktail with some friends after the midnight hour.
We also need to consider how these kinds of things spill over into issues in relating industries such as our live music economy. Trade restrictions impact on employees to entertain, service, security, cleaning and many others.
Newcastle can't lose sight of where it came from, nor can it lose sight of where it is heading.
Personal responsibility has had a tremendous impact on who we are becoming as these new adults heading out in our city only ever know of a time where if you do the wrong thing it is you that is banned from these venues. They accept their responsibility to be well behaved in venues and around them.