Solotel, the 30-venue strong hospitality empire whose portfolio includes Matt Moran's five restaurants, bought Newtown's Marlborough Hotel three months ago. And the group's latest move is a major sprucing up of Tokyo Sing Song, the beloved underground entertainment space beneath the Marly, where, after midnight on a Friday or Saturday, pretty much anything can happen — from drag and cabaret to live bands to club nights.
The biggest change is that there's more room — for people, for dancing and for shows. "Tokyo Sing Song has been a King Street institution for a while," says Adam Lewis, Solotel's group entertainment manager. "The space has an incredible history and a lot of wonderful art. We wanted to make sure we did everything we could to make it as good as it could be, so it could host as much great entertainment as possible."
If you haven't been down for a while, the first thing you'll probably notice is the new carpet, which doesn't carry the olfactory history of every beer that ever was drunk at the Marly. "The old carpet was pretty unpleasant, in terms of smell," says Lewis. "That was one of the biggest complaints we had."
On top of that, the furniture has been reconfigured, to eradicate bottle necks and open up the dancefloor. Plus, there's a roomier stage and a louder, crisper PA. This trio of changes allows for a greater diversity of performances and bigger club nights. One of these is Ricardo's, which started earlier this year in a Portuguese club in Marrickville and is now Tokyo Sing Song's first permanent resident. Every Friday night, DJs from around Sydney and interstate drop by.
What hasn't changed is the overall aesthetic and the free-spirited, open-ended feel. In fact, Lewis is hoping to bring in more eclectic programming and different artists from around Newtown and the inner west. Ultimately, he'd like to turn the venue, which now opens on weekends only, "into a week-long, reliable dancefloor." Consider us significantly on board.
Find Tokyo Sing Song downstairs at the Marlborough Hotel, 145 King Street, Newtown. Open Friday 10pm–6am and Saturday 10pm–5am.