Everything old is new again and, in the case of The Old Clare Hotel, it just gets better with age. The grungy Clare pub and adjacent Carlton United Brewery building were transformed in 2015 into a 62-room oasis in buzzing Chippendale. Expect superior dining, art and shopping options on the doorstep, character in spades, and friendly staff. The neighbourhood vibe of pedestrianised Kensington Street and Spice Alley and the Old Clare's front bar draw locals as well as visitors. Set over four floors, rooms are light-filled and luxe, marrying heritage features with freestanding baths and super-king beds. All have high ceilings, Mid-century furniture and Maison Balzac glassware.
Every nook and cranny is social-media ready. Now choose your backdrop: a vintage chair, the lobby wall of old pub posters, or the Studio 54 vibe at the restored Art Deco bar.
Grab a tin of Young Henrys Newtowner ale from the minibar and head for the rooftop pool. It's not made for laps but it has rockstar views over Sydney's favourite vertical garden.
Kensington Street Social takes care of room service and the à la carte breakfast ($20) – a smoked mackerel omelette, perhaps, or fig jam on sourdough, with Single O coffee and fresh juice. Come lunch, Automata next door or newly opened A1 Canteen should be top of your to-do list.
Old and new Chippendale collide at the revamped illuminated bar of The Clare; Reschs listed alongside craft beers and fruity cocktails, and students joined by agency execs.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.