Sydney venue Cafe Lounge announces closure after two decades

Owners cited rising operating costs and recent coronavirus restrictions

Beloved Sydney venue Cafe Lounge has announced it will close for good after a 20-year run, citing “recent lockout laws” and “rising operating costs”. The bar and restaurant initially shut its doors back in March due to restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owners took to social media yesterday (May 11) to share the news they’d handed back the keys.

“Cafe Lounge was a business passed on between friends who shared a passion for creating a space where people came together to meet, eat, drink, laugh, kiss, dance, love and live life,” they said in a statement on Instagram.

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“With recent lockout laws, rising operating costs in a rapidly changing neighbourhood, we knew quickly this pandemic was going to be our end. We hope other venues receive the ongoing support required to get through this time and hopefully we all come back stronger with a government who recognises our value.”

The Surry Hills institution opened as a cafe back in 2000, “serving breakfast to Oxford Street clubbers”. It went on to become a hub for live arts in the city, regularly hosting live music, comedy and DJs.

Thanking staff, artists and patrons, owners concluded the post saying they “look forward to doing it all again some day in another place and another time”.

Read the full statement below.

View this post on Instagram

From humble beginnings as a licensed café serving breakfast to Oxford Street clubbers, a local live music, party and comedy institution emerged. Today, we handed back the keys from what’s been an incredible run. Cafe Lounge was a business passed on between friends who shared a passion for creating a space where people came together to meet, eat, drink, laugh, kiss, dance, love and live life. Endless first dates, proposals, lifelong friendships and romantic partners were formed as the sun always set, thanks to a mural by a local artist. With recent lockout laws, rising operating costs in a rapidly changing neighbourhood, we knew quickly this pandemic was going to be our end. We hope other venues receive the ongoing support required to get through this time and hopefully we all come back stronger with a government who recognises our value. We‘d like to thank those who played an integral part in keeping the good times flowing, all the hardworking staff, managers, artists, promoters and previous owners. They kept the dream alive for 20 good years. Lastly, none of this would have been possible or worth it without you. If you came to Monday night comedy, a midweek live show or danced all over our furniture on the weekends, we thank you for that and look forward to doing it all again some day in another place and another time. Much love The Lounge

A post shared by CAFE LOUNGE SYD (@cafeloungesydney) on

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