The Imperial Hotel Erskineville, one of Australia’s most revered LGBTQI safe havens, has been reimagined as a ‘place of fantasy’.
A cultural icon, the space was the birthplace of the movie Priscilla and has played a pivotal role in the greater Sydney community as a historic theatre and event space.
The ground floor now contains a 250-seat restaurant called Priscillas, which has been conceived as a lost palace; a cabaret dreamscape of haphazardly replaced stone floor tiles and detailed timberwork.
The space features a private dining area with a large paper sculpture and open kitchen. The main bar contains a bespoke cathedral-esque/Biblical fresco ceiling mural with the adjoining theatrical cocktail bar opening out onto a glazed enclosure to an inner courtyard and winter garden.
The upper level pizzeria and bar features an outdoor golden pizza oven, bar and an indoor cocktail bar, private dining room, lounge and seating. There is also a lower level nightclub and Australia’s first same sex marriage Cathedral is due to open this year on the rooftop.
Careful effort was taken to reimagine the space into a place of fantasy while respectfully acknowledging its LGBQTI custodians. While there is an array of colour and shapes, the space is not “light”. The gravity of its legacy is clearly visible; the shadow of history cast upon its many surfaces.