ARQ, a beloved Sydney gay bar since 1999, reopened this weekend, following a two-year pandemic closure.
“We are completely blown away with the support we received from the community,” owner Shadd Danesi told Star Observer. “The venue was at capacity from the moment we opened.”
“Special guest, Nat Bass, was spectacular,” continued Danesi, “and performances by Sia Tequila had the place pumping.”
Each night, ARQ will host aerialists, dancers, and drag performers. On tap for next weekend: vocalists Zoë Badwi and Jack Vidgen, as well as DJs Sgt Slick, Kitty Glitter, and Dan Murphy.
Before reopening, ARQ underwent a multi-million-dollar facelift. According to management, the “signature revolving doors have been enhanced with the addition of an immersive arcade-style gaming room and a dedicated champagne and cocktail lounge.”
ARQ’s neighboring Bodyline Sauna, Sydney’s longest-running gay bathhouse, has also reopened.
After closing in 2020, ARQ was repeatedly listed for sale, then pulled from the market. Earlier this year, ARQ posted an ad for bar staff, prompting excitement and speculation about reopening.
“It’s been an incredibly rough few years, from lockouts, to lockdowns, leaving countless businesses in ruins,” said Danesi. “We have all come together again to not only revitalise ARQ, but the entire Australian nightlife industry.”