Launched to much fanfare just under two years ago as Newcastle’s only LGBTI nightclub, Unity is now seeking an other location for its weekly parties after the club’s new owners decided they will be taking the venue “in a different direction”.
The events company behind Unity, Metro Entertainment, has told the Star Observer that it fully intends to continue on with an LGBTI-inclusive nightclub for the Newcastle region and is currently discussing opportunities for bringing Unity back to the local area.
Unity was opened in the early part of 2012 and quickly became a drawcard for LGBTI locals as well as visiting drag stars, DJs and performers from Sydney and elsewhere including Mel B, The Veronicas, the Potbelleez and DJ Dan Murphy.
In that short time, the regular Unity nights – which ran on weekends as well as each Wednesday – fast gained a reputation as a slice of Oxford Street in the Hunter and saw it nominated for a DIVA Award as well as an ACON Honour Award.
Late last month, the new licensee of the Sydney Junction Hotel Kate Beauchamp informed Unity’s promoters that her management team had decided to overhaul its entertainment lineup – a decision that Metro Entertainment directors, Aaron Little and Ashely Doran, still find hard to believe.
“Unity was the LGBTI community’s home,” Doran said. “A project we began in 2012 which exceeded our expectations and turned around the fortune of a hotel which wasn’t doing very well financially. Even on the [last] weekend … the venue was packed and traded right through to 5am. We can’t understand this sort of business decision.”
Little told the Star Observer Unity had been a resounding success in drawing an enthusiastic and loyal clientele that was far removed from Newcastle’s dangerous drinking culture which has blighted the city in recent times.
“The one thing about Unity was that it brought everyone together.
“We’ve got a lot of support from local police as Unity helped curb violence in the area. There was no issues or drama at Unity and police knew it as a safe place. While other nearby venues from time to time have to deal with a great deal of violence, Unity nightclub was never like that,” he said.
“It wasn’t just a gay venue but a safe place for anybody and everybody who wanted to go out but do so in a relaxed space.”
Little said he believed many of the people who attended Unity events over the past 18 or so months will be looking forward with anticipation to the popular night’s next incarnation somewhere in the Newcastle region.
“We have had a lot of other venues contact us,” he told the Star Observer.
“After the story hit the local media recently, we received two or three offers from venues but we could not accept those offers as the trading hours and the locations of those places could not accommodate what we want to put on.
“It does show that there is plenty of support though.”