The Old Clare Hotel
The Old Clare Hotel, found in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Chippendale in Sydney, has a storied past that includes stints as a pub and the Carlton United Brewery admin building. Thanks to a canny, careful restoration by hotelier Loh Lik Peng and architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the sense of light industrial heritage remains and is used to great effect. Peng’s vision for The Old Clare Hotel, after all, was for it to be a hotel with a difference; no cookie cutter rooms or bland service here.
And he succeeded. The 62 rooms here feel authentic and look fantastic, with vintage and one-of-a-kind furnishings, polished wooden floors, and even salvaged features from the former brewery, like the gleaming original bars found in the aptly-named Showroom Suite. Many of the sleek light fixtures, meanwhile, are the result of a collaboration between Unlisted Collection and PSLab. And there are luxe Triumph & Disaster amenities in the bathrooms, plenty of space, and – in the case of the CUB Suite at least, heritage timber panelling, a library, and an eight-seat dining table.
And there’s no boring hotel food here. Instead there are three independent restaurants that totally spoil guests for choice. There’s the Kensington St Social from Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, which serves up Mediterranean-style sharing plates from breakfast through to dinner. Silvereye, meanwhile, from Sam Miller, the former Noma sous chef, is the place for all things pickled, fermented, salted, cured and smoked. And for a fine five-course contemporary feast from Clayton Wells, Automata is the place to go.
The Clare bar, meanwhile, is the answer to locals’ prayers, fulfilling a need for great drinks in chic surrounds that had been wanting in the area until The Old Clare Hotel came around. There’s a mid-century feel to the bar’s design that belies the contemporary spirit of the drinks, from perfectly mixed cocktails to craft beers.