Good news folks – finally the Imperial Hotel is set to open, with the Land and Environment Court granting the venue a 12 month trial license for more than 700 patrons on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
Sydney Star Observer reports that the ruling was handed down on Wednesday morning. It’s good news for locals in Newtown and Erskineville who have been without a dedicated gay venue since the Newtown Hotel closed in November 2007.
Owner Shadd Danesi has been fighting the City of Sydney after they imposed a limit of 400 patrons on the newly renovated hotel, when it is capable of holding almost double that amount.
This time last year Same Same walked through the revamped hotel to take a look at some of the changes.
In the main room off the street, the bar has moved across to one side of the room. Head up the stairs to brand new toilets (a loo with a view), an outdoor smoking balcony and a lift directly down to the other levels. The lift means the whole venue is wheelchair accessible.
In the next room, the Cabaret bar is almost unrecognisable from its past. Gone are the plastic hanging entrance-way and sticky floors, replaced by polished wooden floor boards, a larger stage and a raised DJ booth.
Craig Mills, the design consultant for the renovation, told Same Same last year that it was the essence of Priscilla that they were trying to capture throughout the new venue.
“It’s going to look like a gay sunset,” he said. “Lots of pink and orange, it’s based on the colours used in Priscilla the movie but then toned down a bit. It’s also the traditional Aussie pub colours.”
Walk down the stairs and you notice the biggest change to the venue – an underground nightclub. Capable of comfortably holding a few hundred people, it’s like walking into the mezzanine level at Arq, with a nightclub opening up before you as though you’re standing on the edge of a swimming pool.
Danesi is yet to announce the date that the venue will open. Stay tuned to Same Same for updates.