Oxford Street nightclub Phoenix, an institution on Sydney’s gay scene, is getting a much-needed facelift. But regular patrons shouldn’t fret -“ the place will still retain its dark and dirty charm.

The venue, situated downstairs at the Exchange Hotel, is to be refurbished and relaunched on 6 May with a new look and a new DJ line-up.

The fresh DJ list will see Paul Goodyear residing over Friday nights with the hands-in-the-air music he’s famous for, explained Mark Gerber, promotions manager of the hotel.

Ben Drayton will be playing Bad Dog-style alternative tunes on Saturdays, while the dynamic duo of Mandy Rollins and Feisty will perform dark and dirty tribal music every Sunday night.

As for the d?r of the club, Nothing’s been done to the place for the last 10 years, so we thought it was time to give it a facelift, Gerber said.

He and his team recently refurbished the old Lizard Lounge, upstairs from Phoenix, and transformed it into a funky new live music venue called Spectrum. They plan to do something similar with Phoenix.

The walls will be decorated by a range of local artists who will each be given an area to do with as they like.

The art will be changed on a regular basis and could include paintings, mirror displays and video art.

We want to bring art into the nightclub world, said Gerber’s brother, artist Matthys Gerber, who worked on Spectrum and is now helping with this project.

Clubs in London and New York have been doing this type of thing for years, and it’s about time Sydney had something like it, Mark said.

But he stressed they have no intention of taking the soul out of the old place. People like the grottiness if it, Mark added.

Matthys agreed. The darkness should be retained and the cellar feel will be kept intact.

Also involved in the new look is artist Joe Psegiannakis, who has previously been involved with Club Kooky, YOB and Bad Dog.

It was his idea to open up the bar area by knocking a hole in a wall to allow for more service points.

The toilets are also being made over, there will be new furnishings and most importantly, Psegiannakis added, there will be beer on tap.

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