No Fun in Australia

The Washington Examiner features Michelle Minton's research on the regulatory burden in Australia as a warning to the US. 

Michelle Minton for the Competitive Enterprise Institute: American city officials, take note: Sometimes the remedy to a purported problem is worse than the disease. This is a lesson fans of Sydney's once vibrant nightlife are beginning to learn. After the punching deaths of two teenagers and immense public outcry, officials sought to address the issue of drug and alcohol-fueled violence by banning takeaway alcohol after 10 p.m. throughout New South Wales and creating "CBD Entertainment Precincts."

Bars, clubs and music venues within these zones would, among other things, be forced to turn away new patrons after 1:30 a.m. and stop serving alcohol after 3 a.m. Prior to implementation of these "lockout laws," venue owners warned that it would devastate the area's social scene and even force many of them to go out of business. It turns out this wasn't just reactionary hyperbole …

Venues that were once staples of the city are now closing their doors, not just for the 3 a.m. lockout, but permanently. Notable losses include the "swankiest" bar in Sydney, Hugo's Lounge, which took the prize of best pizza shop in Australia at the National Restaurant and Catering Awards and was deemed "the World's Best Pizza" at the American Pizza Challenge in New York. Hugo's closed down last summer with the owner blaming the restrictive rules. Manager Dave Evans noted that "stringent conditions … crippled our business [and] we have seen turnover drop in [the Kings Cross area] by 60 percent."

By some accounts, assaults are down 40 percent in the city. But that might not be worth the price for many lamenting the loss of their city's nightlife.

Read the full article at Washington Examiner