Historically significant watering hole Kinselas in Darlinghurst has once again changed hands, following its sale to private equity firm Moelis Australia for a cool $45 million.

Prior to its conversion to a pub in 1982, the building served as a funeral parlour and headquarters of Charles Kinsela from 1933. More recently it has served as a live music venue and regular haunt for ‘Darlo’ locals and the broader rainbow community.

Records show that the venue has been sold at least five times in the last decade, with Moelis having bought the venue off the Kospetas family’s Universal Hotel Group, who themselves bought the pub off former Qantas executive Geoff Dixon and ad-man John Singleton in 2017.

Last month, Moelis also snapped up the neighbouring Courthouse Hotel for $22 million and have since announced plans to “reposition the existing venues and unlock the future potential value of this prominent site.”

Last month when discussing the purchase of the Courthouse Hotel, Moelis CEO Dan Brady said that “they anticipate the refurbishment work, coupled with our staff engagement and community advocacy focused operational model will deliver attractive returns for investors, enhanced and enriching experiences for Darlinghurst patrons and a fantastic opportunity to reimagine the late-night economy with Sydney as it opens up post-COVID.”

 What repositioning the venues’ and ‘attractive returns for investors actually means is very much open to interpretation. However, following the recent sale of the Green Park Hotel, some are concerned for not just the future of these venues but for what this could mean for the character of the local area. Darlinghurst and the Oxford Street strip were heavily impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns, which came just months after the repeal of Sydney’s highly continuous lockout laws in January.

If it’s being sold to a publican as a pub and also developed, that is good news. But it all comes down to what is said and what is done, because obviously these plans can change,” Stephan Győry, President of the Darlinghurst Business Partnership tells Star Observer.

Győry continued by saying that “Taylor Square is a bit of a basket case, and anything to reactivate it would be great. The larger problem with Taylor Square is that it’s split into three, with the biggest section privately fenced off by the courts. It’s supposed to be a town square, but it is more of a traffic thoroughfare.”

Of course, with many mourning the forthcoming closure of the Green Park Hotel on December 20, Győry hopes that Kinselas will remain true to its roots as a meeting place for the rainbow community long into the future, regardless of what may be in store for the site’s development plans.

You would have to be fucking stupid not to [keep it LGBTQI focused]. Aside from being the historically nice thing to do, it makes sense as it’s a ready-made market. Even though with the community having spread out through Sydney, it may now not be as big a market. It’s also a historic thing which makes the area welcoming to everyone, and the LGBTQI history is fundamental to that image and identity.”

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