Amber Schultz at the Courthouse Hotel on 'freedom day' (Image: supplied)

It’s NSW’s "freedom day" and those in Sydney’s inner west got dressed up for the occasion. Men with overgrown mullets splaying out from the back of caps and women in full-body denim jumpsuits walk arm in arm to join the already enormous queues wrapping around the block to finally, at long last, enter the pub.

After 106 days in lockdown, it feels like we’ve gone back to normal a little too quickly. Freedom is welcome -- but its suddenness seems stark. 

I’m sitting in the courtyard of the Courthouse Hotel in Newtown, greeted by an ecstatic staff member hanging over the pub’s rainbow gate. It’s just before 5pm and the crowd is mostly young hipsters. Someone knocks the large outdoor umbrella and a cascade of rainwater pours on to the ground, eliciting a series of drunken hoots and whoots.