Can we offer you more than a drink?
December 21, 2014
Richard for 2011 in Culture

What to do about Kings Cross in a time of lockouts and alcohol restrictions ... Artists, local bars and pubs seek new ways to generate trade ... Tapping local residents ... More music and live performances ... Laura Corrigan reports   

THE Kings Cross Creative Group has been formed by a group of artists, writers, local business owners and one active city councillor with the aim of bringing different ideas and energy to the area's nightlife. 

Kings Cross has been famous, some might say infamous, for late night drinking and clubbing, but the lockout laws have meant earlier bedtimes for partiers, which in turn has had an adverse effect on the turnover for pubs, bars and clubs. 

KCCG is looking for ways to increase trade by bringing a more diverse mix of people to the Cross, and bringing them earlier.

At the most recent meeting on December 9 the discussion traversed the possibilities of pop-up cinemas, art gallery tours, laneway dining, live music, cabaret shows in pubs, collaborations between theatres and hotels and talks in cafes, as well as plans for next year's Kings Cross festival. 

Jenny Green, an Independent Councillor for City of Sydney, Potts Point resident and founder of the Kings Cross Creative Group said: 

"We're looking at other entertainment options besides drinking so there's some diversification in terms of offering." 

Steve Ward, owner of World Bar on Bayswater Rd Kings Cross, added: 

"We've been looking for ideas and ways to evolve across all sorts of mediums. We've been working with a lot of creative groups and we are working to use our unused entertainment space to benefit members of the community." 

During the day the World Bar's performance spaces are occupied for rehersals by creative groups like Studio 101 and Actors Anonymous. 

"It exposes us to different members of the community, it facilitates collaboration, and it highlights the spaces for other uses, like function bookings and corporate gigs which are outside our usual repertoire." 

Jenny Green: looking for a wider range of after-dark activities for the CrossGreen has lived in Potts Point for 12 years. Like many other residents she is happy with some of the calming effects of the new laws and the reduction in violence - which may partly be attributed to the fact that there are less people on the streets. 

Ward, like other licensees in the area, has experienced "large drops in turnover". 

Providing different entertainment can help pubs and bars to attract a different demographic, in particular more local residents. Green told Postcode2011

"I think there's a lot of potential for hotels to cater to the existing demographic that's sitting right under their nose." 

Potts Point-Woolloomooloo is the second most densely populated area in Australia. Green said this is a big market that isn't being catered to. Many locals tend to go out for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, but then head home before the invasion of drinkers and revellers. She believes there is an opportunity for hotels to pick-up more locals through live music and performance offerings. 

The King's Cross IGNITE music festival in late November was a snapshot of what is possible. IGNITE drew crowds from a mixture of age groups, local residents and visitors. Green said the festival brought about a different atmosphere, it wasn't just about getting "blind drunk". And it also meant support for local musicians and the live performers.

"Kings Cross was well known back in the 1930s and 40s to have great jazz, great singers and performers. Over the years that has been lost." 

Jenny Green hopes that the networks and collaborations created through the Kings Cross Creative Group will help generate a greater range of after-dark possibilities for the Cross. 

"These things always take time. It's not like we wake up and the whole place has changed. I wish. It's hard work but you take one step forward and then one back and eventually the momentum builds."   

Laura Corrigan reporting

Article originally appeared on Local news from postcode 2011 (http://postcode2011.com.au/).
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