The last time I visited the Old Clare Hotel was during my uni days, and those memories are hazy at best.
Once a student-packed bar, the Old Clare was known as one of the only pubs in the area where you could find a drink at 2am and not have to worry when you spilled it all over the carpet.
Those days, however are long gone – and in its place stands one of Sydney’s finest hipster hotels, soon to be the hangout of fashion week’s international delegates. The ‘new’ bar at the Old Clare is moodily lit, with cocktails on the menu and cashed-up artists on the seats. It oozes cool in a way the former hotel never did.
There are however, some remnants of day’s past scattered throughout - the lobby, for instance, features a series of gig posters from the 2000s, and old gritty architectural nuances now serve as decorative touches.
Located in the heart of Central Park at Chippendale, the hotel is a stone’s throw from the affectionately named ‘Spice Alley’, aka a lane of delicious restaurants at varying prices. I tried Automata, which is associated with the hotel and highly recommended (go for the matching wines).
On the roof, where the hotel pool sits, you can sun yourself silly on a number of lounge chairs while plugging away on your laptop and admiring the view of the city. Note though, that the pool itself is probably more for show – it looks great, but is too small to accompany two people doing laps. But why do you need to swim anyway, when there are poolside drinks to be had?
As for the hotel rooms themselves, they’re nothing short of spacious – in fact, if you were here for fashion week, you could happily fling your numerous designer suitcases all over the floor and still have room for cartwheels.
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The Showroom Suite, which I stayed in, features an original salvaged bar area behind the (massive) bed, making it easy to down champagne while simultaneously watching Foxtel on demand. It also contains a massive bathtub – perfect for relaxing after a hectic day at the shows (if you have time).
The only downside is that rooms can get quite noisy until the restaurants start winding down – so my tip is to ask for a room on the Carlton Street side – or just stay out with everyone else, because who needs that much sleep when you’re in happening Chippendale?
For bookings, visit http://www.theoldclarehotel.com.au/rooms