Melbourne’s nightlife gets back on feet post-pandemic

By Our Reporter
Photo by David Jackson on Unsplash

The Andrews Labor Government is continuing to reinvigorate the night-time economy and help hospitality venues to get back on their feet post-pandemic.

While the existing freeze guidelines on new late-night liquor licences will continue throughout the inner-city municipalities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra and Stonnington, the Government has extended the exemption criteria for these licences to support businesses on their road to recovery, an official press release said.

Venues with existing late-night licences can continue to trade as they always have, while other venues can still apply to trade past 1am if they meet certain exemption conditions.

Changes to the exemptions from 1 July include:

  • increasing the maximum number of patrons in exempt late-night live music venues from 500 to 1,000;
  • exempting major event licences where the event has all local government authority approvals;
  • and expanding the types of limited licences that could be exempt from the freeze by removing the ‘significant’ and ‘major’ qualifiers for cultural, live music, charity or tourist events.

These additional exemptions will help Melbourne’s much-loved live music scene continue to thrive, while also reducing red tape for traders and encouraging community and cultural events to be held throughout the city.

The freeze on late-night liquor licences was first introduced in 2008 as one of a range of measures to respond to alcohol-related harm and crime in inner Melbourne. Exemptions are available on request to businesses that meet certain criteria—such as providing food or accommodation and having a Venue Management Plan in place.

The changes to the exemption guidelines will ensure Melbourne continues to enjoy a strong and vibrant night-time economy, while continuing to combat alcohol-related harm.

An evaluation of the freeze will also be conducted into the effectiveness of the late-night liquor freeze and to assess alternative measures.

For more information on the late-night liquor freeze and exemptions, visit

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