City nightlife takes on a new dimension
The vibe of a city may be sensed through its nightlife, especially its restaurants and bars. Melbourne has its café culture, Sydney has its harbour, while Adelaide has its small bar scene.
Adelaide nightlife has blossomed since more liberal licencing laws were introduced in 2013, according to researchers from our South Australian Centre for Economic Studies.
Its report on the contribution small venues make to economic opportunity found that employment, economic activity and patron safety had all been enhanced by the new regulatory regime.
The change to licencing legislation aimed to alter the drinking culture and reduce levels of violence in Adelaide at night.
It allowed for new bars or restaurants with a maximum of 120 patrons, under restricted trading hours
Owners of these new establishments face fewer hurdles to start up and they pay lower annual licence fees than larger hotels and restaurants.
This has enabled innovative dining and socialising options not previously available in Adelaide, according to Associate Professor Michael O’Neil.
“Based on recent interviews with owner-managers of small venues, total employment in the sector is estimated at 1250 jobs for the 109 licences granted since 2013.
“Previously under-used laneways are now busy hubs of nightlife with more people choosing to meet and socialise in the city centre.”
Research shows that people feel safer in the new bars and restaurants.
“The level of hostility, aggression and intoxication is perceived to be lower at small venues, while cleanliness and overall atmosphere has improved in places where small venues have flourished,” Professor O’Neil says.
“The initiative has been a great success and has corrected a market failure— an unmet demand from people who wanted to socialise in a non-gambling environment in more intimate places, and enjoy different eating and drinking experiences.”
The revitalisation of Adelaide’s nightlife may be one of the contributing factors in its consistently high ranking on the list of the world’s most liveable cities.
Associate Professor Michael O'Neil
Executive Director of the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies
School of Economics
Faculty of the Professions