The Newtown Hotel could re-open after a $3million facelift.
An application seeking to re-fit 147-176 King St — and the adjoining building at 178 King St — as a two-storey bar and dining area complete with original colonial-style wrap-around verandahs has been lodged with the City of Sydney.
The application, submitted to council on behalf of Newtown Hotel Holdings, makes extensive note of the hotel’s early history from the 1800s-1900s, but in 15 pages of historical documentation failed to make any mention of its significance as a gay and lesbian venue.
The venue has been shut since November 2007 when building owners Newtown Colonial Hotel abruptly evicted the former licensee David McHugh from the premises with less than 24-hours notice.
Negotiations between the two sides stalled in 2008 when Newtown Colonial Hotel bypassed the discussions and applied for a liquor licence.
The owners have never commented on the venue’s past or future as a gay and lesbian venue.
Current plans seek permission to run the space as a bar and dining area from 10am-midnight, seven days a week.
The ground floor would be run as a bar and casual dining space, complete with beer garden and outdoor gaming area. The second storey would also contain a bar and balcony space for dining and smokers.
Former patrons contacted by Sydney Star Observer were excited to see the space re-open, but said it would be disappointing if the owners made no effort to acknowledge the local gay and lesbian community.
“If it opens, I think a lot of the old regulars will go there anyway, even if it is a totally straight venue,” one former regular, Mitch Bonett, said.
“Most of the bars in Newtown are mixed venues now anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.
“It would be a shame if it didn’t return as a gay and lesbian venue, but I’m sure a lot of the old regulars would just like to see it open again, because there’s nowhere to go.
“But I think [the owners] would be crazy not to acknowledge the gay and lesbian community, because there’s so many people who like going to a mixed place.”