The historic Lansdowne Hotel in Chippendale has reopened it doors returning to its live music roots and throwing out the poker machines.
Owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham hopes a return to live music will help revitalise Sydney's struggling nightlife which has been hit by lockout laws and NIMBYs complaining about noise and opening hours.
“It’s certainly not a single handed reinvigoration," Smyth said.
"I would hope this venue is a part of a renewal that is a long time coming in Sydney."
"I think our role is inflated at the moment and that will back down when the punters and bands take ownership of this venue again,” he said.
“We will never allow pokies into our venues, we’d rather close the doors then start stealing money from families for our benefit.”
The bold move to stop pokies from entering the venue goes against the culture of gambling in Australia.
Currently, over 80% of adults in Australia indulge in some form of gambling.
It is estimated that $12BN a year is spent on pokies in Australia, with the average player losing up to $380 dollars every year.
Australia currently hosts 197,122 poker machines, ranking Australia the sixth highest country in the world owning pokies.
Tom Lawrence, founder of Proudly Pokies Free campaign, said that by venues going 'pokies free' it created a more welcoming atmosphere for their patrons.
“Going pokies free is a vote for your community. Without pokies venues instantly become more welcoming, family-friendly spaces that aren't surviving off gambling addiction. It also usually means that these venues have to put more effort into what they do which benefits everyone,” he said.
Smyth is not concerned with their decision, believing that the culture of live music and the community around it will bring a steady revenue to the renewed venue.
“I think that there is a community of support that surrounds venues like this."
"I’m a businessman first, really, and there's no way I wouldn’t have made this decision if I didn’t have the faith in that community,” he said.