Inner city licensed venue owners say it is about time restrictive conditions be relaxed to allow businesses to thrive and Newcastle's night-time economy to blossom and compete with other cities across the country.
It came as NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello visited the Hunter on Wednesday to talk to stakeholders about licencing conditions that have come to be known as "the Newcastle Solution".
The conditions were introduced in 2008 and originally applied to 14 venues - dictating closing hours, lockouts and the time of night that certain types of drinks such as cocktails could no longer be served.
Mr Dominello said the rules had crept to apply more broadly to many other venues.
Bar owners welcomed the prospect of change on Wednesday, saying relaxed conditions would boost business and create more jobs.
Prudence Farquhar, co-owner of cocktail bar Blue Kahunas, said she wanted small bars to be allowed to trade until 2am - later than midnight as the licensing conditions currently permit - so Newcastle could keep pace with other cities.
"It would just be super lovely as a patron to be able to go to a small bar where it's a safe space, very inclusive, the cocktail culture is really important, and you learn about the spirits," she said.
"There's not much happening in Newcastle after midnight. It's a bit sad."
Ethan Ortlipp, owner of whiskey bar Coal and Cedar, said relaxing restrictions would help smaller operations survive after the hardship of the COVID-19 shutdown.
Mr Ortlipp came from Sydney to start his bar in 2012 and said Newcastle's nightlife was "embarrassing" for the size of the city when he arrived.
"Surely something has to change, it's 12 years ago," he said.
"I think younger people have really changed the way they drink and act at night.
"I don't think many people feel unsafe walking the streets any more. I think we're ready to go."
The Koutetsu owner Chris Wilson said longer opening times would mean venues could employ more people and offer more hours to existing workers.
He said the rules were "out-dated" and did not consider shift workers looking for a late drink or people who wanted a night cap following dinner or after seeing a show.
"[Visitors] are definitely shocked when you call last rounds at 11.30pm," Mr Wilson said.
"They're definitely used to having that one or two extra after midnight. It's not that they're out to stay out all night but they do show some genuine shock that for such a beautiful city we're just not in line with the rest of the bigger ones."
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Mick Starkey, who runs Customs House, said the narrative needed to change in the long-running conversation about the city's night-time economy.
Mr Starkey said he was concerned that the presence of the conditions and some of the debate around them insinuated it was unsafe to remove the restrictions and gave Newcastle a branding problem.
"The argument is continually hijacked by scaremongering," he said.
"The city has changed, people have changed.
"We, as a city, need to work out what we want to do and where we want to be."
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