Enmore Road Officially The First Permanent Special Entertainment Precinct In NSW

26 June 2024 | 11:02 am | Mary Varvaris

"It’s a win for artists, local businesses and the community."

Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Source: Supplied)

After a successful two-year trial, Enmore Road is officially the first permanent Special Entertainment Precinct in New South Wales.

In April 2021, the Inner West Council introduced a proposal to have the Enmore Theatre recognised as a Special Entertainment Precinct, meaning that all complaints would be handled by the council and remove the right for complainants to issue complaints to the liquor regulator, the Land and Environment Court and licensing police.

The proposal was issued with one goal: protecting an iconic music venue.

The Enmore Road Special Entertainment Precinct trial has been operating since September 2022, and by March of last year, the possibility of it becoming more permanent was looking good.

Out of 270 surveyed visitors, the response was positive, with 91% of punters calling for the Enmore Road entertainment precinct to become permanent. 

Out of the eight local businesses that completed the survey about how the trial had affected them, one venue admitted that they programmed live music for the first time, while another three businesses noted an increase in patronage.

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Earlier this year, the Inner West Council suggested introducing new Special Entertainment Precincts for Darling Street Balmain/RozelleMarrickville Road Marrickville, Marrickville Road Dulwich Hill and Norton Street Leichhardt.

The proposed Special Entertainment Precincts will circle venues, including the 24-hour licenced Bridge Hotel, the Balmain Leagues Club, the Factory Theatre, and more.

According to a recent report published in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Enmore Road Special Entertainment Precinct has been credited with helping the area bounce back to life in a live music landscape post-COVID restrictions, with new bars and restaurants opening around the Enmore Theatre.

Special Entertainment Precincts introduce new measures, such as an extra trading hour for hospitality venues hosting live entertainment, main street businesses having the ability to host “small-scale artistic and cultural events” minus the need for a Development Application, approval of outdoor dining until 11 pm each night, and just one agency policing complaints in the Inner West, rather than multiple government agencies.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said of the success of the Enmore Road Special Entertainment Precinct and its official permanent status, “The Inner West is the beating heart of Sydney’s live music scene, and Enmore Road is now a destination for people throughout Sydney.

“Later trading on Enmore Road as a reward for hosting gigs has been a boon for our bars, restaurants, pubs and performing artists. As a result, we’ve had several new hospitality venues set up on Enmore Road since the trial began.

“Legalising performances in bookshops, cafes, and restaurants has increased the availability of affordable spaces for young and emerging artists to perform and develop their craft, as well as attracting customers to those businesses. It’s a win for artists, local businesses and the community.”

The Inner West Deputy Mayor, Chloe Smith, noted that “you would struggle” to find a busier or more vibrant precinct in Sydney than Enmore Road.

Smith added, “Enmore Road is proof that Special Entertainment Precincts are helping to revive our night-time economy and live music scene.

“I hope to see more of these precincts established here in the Inner West so that the benefits can be shared across our community.”