June – Suburb of the month – CBD
adam | 19th June, 2012
Sydney CBD – small is now the new big…
As the popularity of small bars continues to skyrocket, it’s Sydney’s CBD that’s become the new hotspot with a rash of openings.
The number of small bars in the CBD has doubled in just two years (19 in 2010 to 40 in 2012), with the City of Sydney estimating that it has one small bar opening every month.
However, it’s no accident that it’s worked out this way.
While the City’s campaign to revitalise Sydney’s laneways has certainly played a part, the key driver has really been the freeze on liquor licence applications in certain inner-city suburbs, in a bid to reduce alcohol-related violence.
So restrictions on opening in more traditional bar precincts like Oxford St and Kings Cross have pushed Sydney’s small bar brigade into the CBD, creating pockets of small bars in unlikely areas like Kent St and Clarence St.
And now that they’re going head-to-head with some of Sydney’s biggest and best known city pubs, what have they done to differentiate themselves from the competition?
• It’s what they don’t have. No Foxtel, TVs, pool tables, pokies or fake Irish memorabilia means they offer their customers a much more intimate and sophisticated experience – and aren’t they loving it.
• A focus on design. Many small bar operators come from creative or advertising backgrounds and they’ve taken full advantage by designing inviting and original spaces that larger hotels just can’t match.
• Interesting product mix. By breaking the cycle of boring, often heavily discounted, mainstream brands, they’ve created a new breed of drinker that wants to try something new – with service to match.
• An emotional connection. Being able to engage with the bar’s owner means customers become part of the whole concept, which in many cases has been enhanced by ‘word of mouth’ marketing and the clever use of social media.
So despite going up against the big boys, the CBD’s new kids on the block continue to attract a loyal following. And that’s great news for our industry.
Let us know where your favourite small bar is?