Sydney, Australia

The Old Clare

Rates from (inc tax)$173.58

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21AUD), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Old meets brew


Spruced-up Chippendale

You can teach an old dog new tricks, according to The Old Clare, whose rooftop pool, handsome rooms, destination restaurants and bar occupy two heritage-listed buildings. Nods to the former student pub and Carlton & United Breweries' administrative HQ remain, including band posters, original fittings and the boozy boardroom.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A pint of Resch's (brewed by Carlton & United) each at the bar


Photos The Old Clare – Sydney – Australia

Need to know


62, including four suites.


11am, latest. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $173.58 (AU$228), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD251.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include WiFi and local calls, but exclude breakfast (à la carte). Rates exclude a surcharge of 1.5 per cent for credit-card payments.


Used to the same old tired minibar offerings? (We’re looking at you, Pringles and salted peanuts.) You’ll perk up at the stash of thoughtfully sourced in-room treats at the Old Clare, which include: Zozoko chocolates, beef jerky, Byron Bay Cookies, Thomas Chipman crisps, grapefruit fizzy pop and bottled cocktails.

At the hotel

Rooftop pool; two restaurants (and a third to come); bar (plus a pool bar in summer); gym; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, desk, minibar, Triumph & Disaster bath products.

Our favourite rooms

If your ideal city break involves wallowing in a bath, skip the Connell rooms, which have a shower (all the rest have tubs for two). The suites come with plummy heritage features, most notably the brewery HQ’s original boardroom, ceilings, timber panelling – even men’s urinals – in the vast C.U.B. Suite. If you’ve got a soft spot for pigs, book the Mary O’ Suite, named after Mary O’Shea: a local woman who used to maraud around Chippendale seeking slaughterhouse off-cuts for her pigs. (There’s nothing porcine about the suite, though.)


Sydney could do with more rooftop swimming pools. The Old Clare is helping to redress the balance with its lofty lap pool set on timber decking – hot property in summer, thanks to the pool bar and city views.


The hotel plans on opening a day spa in early 2016.

Packing tips

Come thirsty, in honour of the hotel’s boozy heritage. (It’s safe to assume you won’t need to bring a bottle opener.)


Welcome. Rollaway beds ($75 a night) and cots (free) can be added to rooms (book in advance). Babysitting is $30 an hour; lock it in 48 hours ahead.

Food and Drink

Photos The Old Clare – Sydney – Australia

Top Table

Automata for long Sunday lunches and memorable dinners Weds–Sat; Kensington Street Social for everything in between.

Dress Code

Mrs Smith: match the hotel’s up-cycling by sporting reworked classics by Sydney designer Johnny Schembri (such as his digital-print patchwork dresses). Mr Smith: add beer-brown accents with vintage leather and tortoiseshell- or wood-framed sunnies.

Hotel restaurant

Clever Clare: the hotel has lassoed two world-class chefs – Brit talent Jason Atherton (of Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social) and home-grown star Clayton Wells (ex-sous-chef at Momofuku Seiōbo). Automata, Clayton Wells’ joint, offers five-course tasting menus designed with accomplished simplicity: local produce cooked with perfect restraint. Atherton’s Kensington Street Social opens in early 2016: expect a slick but casual setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Hotel bar

You’d expect most bars to be pro-booze, but Clare Bar takes things a step further: it’s kitted out in brown-hued light panels that nod to the autumnal hues of beer bottles. Naturally, there’s a solid selection of craft beer, as well as gluggable wine and clever cocktails, tossed and stirred by tatt-clad, bearded bartenders.

Last orders

Get tipsy till midnight in the bar; dine from 6pm till late in the restaurants.

Room service

Until Kensington Street Social opens, only drinks are on offer in-room; if hunger strikes, look to your minibar.


Photos The Old Clare – Sydney – Australia
The Old Clare
1 Kensington Street


Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport ( is 7km away, a 20-minute drive. Big spenders might want to opt for the hotel’s limousine transfers ($115–$150 each way, depending on flight times).


Central Station, NSW’s busiest, is a short skip from the hotel. You can shuttle between suburbs, or get to the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and the South Coast and Highlands (


The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Valet parking is $50 a night (first come, first served); the hotel has additional parking a short walk away.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel organises art exhibitions, music nights and more, but it’d be a crying shame to miss out on the brilliant surrounding area. The Old Clare is part of the Central Park urban renewal project, which includes two new parks, a shopping centre, public sculptures and several skyscrapers. Locals already love Daiso (+61 (0)2 8072 9380;, in the shopping precinct, which has 200,000-plus treasures from Japan, each priced at $2.80 (random, we know). Looking for something more local? Head to the Brewery Yard Markets on the first and third Sunday of every month and haggle for street art, jewellery and vintage threads. Don’t miss White Rabbit Gallery (+61 (0)2 8399 2867;, Judith Neilson’s eye-bogglingly beautiful, non-profit temple to 21st-century Chinese art, housed in a former knitting factory on Balfour St. But stop for dumplings at the gallery’s teahouse first – you’ve got four floors to conquer, after all.

Local restaurants

Ester Restaurant and Bar (+61 (0)2 8068 8279; at 46-52 Meagher St, serves show-off cooking in a deliciously relaxed environment. Order the hasselback spuds and the ‘three milks’ dessert. Get your smoke on at LP’s Quality Meats (+61 (0)2 8399 0929; at 12-16 Chippen St, which champions all things barbecue in a casual, canteen-style setting. (Even the mashed potato with gravy is worth writing home about.) Pizza, beer jugs and a sociable garden: pub life doesn’t get more mellow than at The Rose Hotel (+61 (0)2 9318 1133; on Cleveland St. If you’re a little green around the gills from the night before, fix up with the English-style fried breakfast.

Local bars

Nifty little bar snacks (za’atar-dusted chicken wings with yoghurt), potent cocktails (the 50/50 Sazerac: cognac, absinthe and bitters) and music nights: if there’s anything not to like about Freda’s (+61 (0)2 8971 7336; at 109 Regent Street, we’re yet to discover it.


Photos The Old Clare – Sydney – Australia

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this intoxicating hotel in Chippendale and unpacked their gallery finds and bottles of craft beer, a full account of their luxury city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Old Clare in Sydney…

Fact: to keep the original Carlton & United Breweries boardroom intact while surrounding structures were brought to their knees, the boardroom was suspended in mid-air for six months. The guys behind Old Clare don’t mess about. Nor should they, given their pedigree: Loh Lik Peng, of Unlisted Collection (also responsible for Town Hall Hotel & Apartments in London; Wanderlust and New Majestic Hotel in Singapore, and Hotel Indigo Shanghai) is behind the Old Clare’s transformation.

Having previously turned a former brothel in Singapore’s red-light district into the place where A-listers want to wake up (Hotel 1929), it’s no surprise that Peng has hit another home-run. The hotelier’s assurance can be seen in the daring integration of old (the former pub’s seedy band-room posters and the brewery’s urinals) and new: the world-class dining, buzzing bar and slick styling by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. It’s felt again in the hotel’s easy confidence and sense of humour; it’s apparent in its stylish young staff (check out head concierge Martin’s mohawk). The Old Clare’s bricks date back to 1848, but this old soak is ageing (dis)gracefully.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Old Clare’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Loved the cool, edgy hotel room design: the tall, tall ceilings, the 'glass-cube' washroom and the industrial artifacts and lighting throughout the hotel. If you eat at Kensington Street Social, do not miss the desserts – super good.

Don’t expect

Privacy while showering! Fun!


Stayed on 17 Feb 2016

We loved

The minimally designed, spacious rooms and super comfortable beds.

Don’t expect

Stuffy service: it's too laid back for that.


Stayed on 22 Jan 2016

We loved

The location, room style and Automata. Great service as well!

Don’t expect

A quiet, boring place. It's all happening in this area! The bar has to close around midnight, so not too late (Sydney lockout laws?) – not the hotels fault.


Stayed on 8 Jan 2016

We loved

The unique room design, ridiculously comfortable (and giant!) mattress, and rooftop bar.

Don’t expect

To want to leave. I could have stayed there forever!


Stayed on 27 Nov 2015

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