Brisbane’s Sportsman Hotel reopens as COVID-19 restrictions ease

sportsman hotel exterior covid-19 coronavirus closure
Photo: Jordan Hirst

Brisbane gay venue The Sportsman Hotel reopened for dinner on Saturday as Queensland’s COVID-19 restrictions eased.

The venue had to close its doors in late March as the pandemic shut down pubs and nightclubs around the country.

But under the new Queensland rules beginning Saturday (May 16), 10 people at a time can now dine at restaurants and cafes for the first time.

On Saturday night, the Sportsman Hotel reopened for dinner and table service, serving 20 people across two sessions at 6pm and 7.30pm with social distancing measures in place.

They’ll now open each night from Thursday to Sunday, with bookings essential.

Owner Neil McLucas said this was the first time the Sportsman Hotel had ever shut down. He said the Sporties team were thrilled to open the pub’s doors again, and they’d seen a flood of bookings over the next few weekends.

“The support we’ve received has been really incredible,” he told

Sporties is also offering takeaway meals until 8:30pm each evening. Call the team on (07) 3831 2892 or visit their Facebook page to book a seat or order takeaway.

Bottle shop Liquor on Leichhardt is also open, for anyone who wants to support the Sportsman Hotel. It’s two doors down from the pub on Leichhardt Street.

COVID-19 forced closure of venues like Sporties nationwide

In late March, strict crackdowns on crowds to curb the spread of coronavirus shut down pubs, clubs and performing arts events nationwide.

Brisbane’s The Beat Megaclub and The Wickham also had to shut down entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New South Wales also loosened similar restrictions on restaurant dining on Friday. But many queer venues face a longer wait to reopen.

Sydney’s The Stonewall Hotel wrote on Facebook, “We miss everyone like crazy and look forward to the day we can all have a safe fun time together at Stonewall.

“Unfortunately, we will have to wait for further easing of restrictions in order to open.

“The restrictions as they stand make it too hard for us to operate and give you the Stonewall experience. We promise the fun of Stonewall will return.”

The Victorian government also announced plans to allow 20 patrons at a time to return to restaurants from June 1.

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