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Old Clare Hotel, Not So Old… Sydney

November 5, 2015

Old Clare Hotel, Chippendale, Sydney, Extern/Tonkin Zahailka Greer, 2015

A denizen of Chippendale’s Kensington Street since 1939, the heritage-listed Old Clare Hotel has been redeveloped by Singapore-based hotelier Loh Lik Peng, and given new life by Sydney-based architects Tonkin Zahailka Greer as a boutique hotel and home to three restaurants with serious gastronomic cred - Automata, Silvereye and the Kensington Street Social.

By Rachel Ang

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Cool and historied, Chippendale has become the play ground of choice for art galleries, production houses, graphic and fashion design studios, as well as Sydney’s newest restaurants, cafés and bars.

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The corner site of 1 Kensington Street has been a hotel since its earliest inception. In 1848, the site housed a two-storey eight room public house, referred to by the rather misnomic title, as The California Inn. In 1885 it was demolished and expanded with a new Victorian building becoming Ryan’s Hotel. During this building’s life, it had a storied career as a hay and corn dealer, a produce store, a furniture dealer, a boot maker, and a restaurant. In 1939 the shop was demolished, and the property was purchased by a Margaret Mahoney. She engaged the architect Sidney Warden, requesting a new hotel in the current Inter-war Functionalist style. Mahoney named it after her birthplace in County Clare, Ireland.

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The newest incarnation in the hotel’s adventures is its renovation and re-opening this year. The Old Clare Hotel pub and adjacent Carlton and United Breweries Administration Building have been restored to their full Inter-war glory and renovated as a 62 room boutique hotel. The architects have retained many of the unique features which characterise the original buildings – exposed brown brick, the gorgeous beige tiles retained from the lobby bar – but the spaces are updated with a modern, warm touch.

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Storm shell clam, rosemary dashi, powdered dulce and cream

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Sunflower & Geranium Crisp Bread snack & 'Hoptical Illusion' cocktail Aperol spritz & beer

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As Tim Greer, Design Director at Tonkin Zahailka Greer Architects describes the mix: “It’s unpredictable, with a bit of magic and a twist of fantasy. When you walk around the hotel, you will get a sense that the building is dressing and undressing itself all at once. The building plays games with what a hotel should be, some parts are exquisite and other parts are raw. In short a building of mixed emotions. The Old Clare Hotel will appeal to anybody with a sense of adventure, who likes comfort and fabulous food.”

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The Old Clare Hotel

The Clare Hotel

1 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008

+61 2 8277 8277

On instagram: @theoldclare

On facebook: theoldclare

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