Wellington's nightlife struggles amidst economic hardship and COVID-19

Wellington's nightlife struggles amidst economic hardship and COVID-19

The lights appear to be fading on Wellington's once-abundant nightlife. 

In the wake of economic hardship and COVID-19, Wellington's nightlife is experiencing a significant downturn. 

Five bars went into liquidation last month alone, with the cost of living crisis further adding to the strain.

The struggling bars primarily consist of smaller, independent operators, while larger establishments appear to be weathering the storm.

Matt McLaughlin is a long-time venue operator in Wellington and told Tova O'Brien on Tuesday morning that the industry is "certainly changing".

"It's been changing over the last few years," McLaughlin said.

"We're noticing some people perhaps aren't going out in the city like they used to. We're finding it more and more difficult as an industry to be able to give that experience. 

"Obviously, the cost of living crisis hits our customers but it also hits us. All of our prices are going up, it's costing a lot more for us to be able to put that experience on a plate or into a pint and it's still hurting our industry."

However, McLaughlin denied the suggestion that Wellington's nightlife is facing a "slow demise", telling O'Brien the venues that have closed down recently probably didn't have much experience in the industry. 

"Some of the venues probably didn't meet those standards," he said.

"Some of the bars that, with all respect to them, have gone under in the last couple of weeks probably didn't have the investment and didn't have the know-how and hadn't been around the industry for quite some time.

"A few of those bars, in my view, just took over an empty site, a lick of paint and a few posters on the wall and they rebranded and opened up a bar and it probably wasn't quite enough." 

Listen to the full interview between Matt McLaughlin and Tova above.

You can also download the full interview on the Tova podcast, and listen on the go. 

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