Small Bars Making a Big Impact

A new breed of bar is cropping up in Sydney and proving a real hit.

Boutique bars – some specialising in one type of drink, others intimate watering holes – have found a home in Sydney after licensing laws changed to allow smaller bars a chance to thrive in New South Wales. The subsequent influx of boutique drinking establishments has led to a cultural change, welcomed by the bars’ owners.

Martin O’Sullivan, who owns the city’s Grasshopper restaurant bar, says that the new bars offer Sydney’s drinkers greater choice. According to The Star, more than 70 such bars have opened since the law changed in 2008. These changes reduced the cost of liquor licences in some instances.

The popularity of small bars has been attributed in part to their appeal to women, who are now able to access public bar areas after years of being restricted to the ladies’ lounges. Public bar access was not permitted until the 1960s.