Sydney’s iconic City Gym in Darlinghurst is open for business after a $1.5 million renovation.
The gym, which opened in 1978—the same year the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras started—was initially known as the ‘The Crown Street Fitness Centre’ and has served Sydney’s LGBTQI fitness and bodybuilding community for over 40 years.
City Gym’s current owners and former regulars, Billy Kokkinis and Andy Mamasioulas, took over management over two years ago when the historic venue was not far off going broke.
When Kokkinis first walked through the door of City Gym in 1986 as a 15-year-old schoolboy on work experience, City Gym’s original founder Billy Moore showed him the ropes of how to run a successful operation.
Moore was dedicated to providing a fitness space founded on “equality, protection, support, compassion and respect for all”, an ideology that has established the gym as a queer staple for getting ‘shredded.’
After the sad passing of its original owner and the venue’s impending threat of closure, Billy ‘Jnr’ stepped up and took over the site.
Now, after signing a new 10-year lease, Kokkinis said in a press release that he’s hopeful that the gym’s glory days can be brought back.
“We are an integral part of the landscape on the fitness scene in Sydney and have been since 1978, and we want to return City Gym back to where it belongs,” he said.
“Not only do we offer the best weight-training equipment on the market, we also offer functional training, group fitness, pilates and yoga. It’s a one-stop-shop [which] offers the best instructors, the best equipment, the whole package all in one.”
The gym’s major facelift includes upgrades to existing equipment and additions of new facilities, which have rejuvenated the Darlinghurst staple. It also includes a new café offering fresh food and City Gym’s famous protein shakes, a professional boxing and training area, and a newly refurbished mind and body fitness group space.
Sydney’s self-care spike has also hit the newly renovated gym, with the gym recently adding a recovery/rehab room and a new beauty hub for body therapies.
Other upgrades include an added emphasis on services that support and promote the local LGBTIQ community.
These include plans for significant collaborations with local LGBTQI businesses and community groups in the area, a 2020 City Gym Mardi Gras float and sponsorships of important LGBTQI charities.
“There’s all the colourful history of our gym and all the characters and stories of Kings Cross which have played out here too,” said Kokkinis as he continues to train alongside long-standing members.
“There are a million stories out there and we want to continue to write more chapters in our long history.
“We have got that old vibe back, it’s back to the big family feel. To me, our community comes first.”