Erskineville's The Imperial Has Been Sold to the Team Behind Universal and Newtown Hotel

Universal Hotels has taken the reins at the iconic Inner West pub that famously featured in 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.
Ben Hansen
Published on June 20, 2023

It's been a staple of the LGBTQIA+ community in Sydney and a bustling nightlife spot for decades. It even features in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It's The Imperial Erskinville and now it has new owners. The storied pub has officially been sold, with Universal Hotels taking the reins.

Universal Hotels is owned and operated by the Kospetas family. The group's footprint on Sydney's hospitality scene is significant, with venues like Newtown Hotel, Universal, Oxford Hotel, Civic Hotel, Hotel Downing, Bat and Ball Hotel, The Riley, Tempe Hotel and V Bar all falling under the group's portfolio.

"The opportunity to transact on the Imperial was one in which we believed had great synergy with our group of venues. We have a strong connection with the LGBTQIA+ community and are very excited about the next chapter for the venue," said Universal Hotels in a statement to Concrete Playground.

"To begin we will take some time to build relationships with the staff and community. We are attracted to the strong legacy of The Imperial and will endeavour to continually improve and evolve the venue."

Since the group took over the venue, things have remained business as usual — so don't expect any radical changes to the beloved community venue. You can still pop into The Imperial for sweaty dance floors and singalongs on weekends, live drag Wednesday–Sunday, trivia on Wednesdays, bingo on Thursdays or for a feed at one of its dining rooms including Priscilla's and Carlotta's Rooftop.

The Erskineville mainstay last closed in 2018 for a $6 million makeover. After an eight-month revamp it reopened with its current slate of dining and entertainment offerings including its vibrant new rooftop bar and basement party area.

You'll find The Imperial Erskineville at 35 Erskineville Road, Erskineville. It's open 4pm–12am Wednesday–Thursday, 4pm–3am Friday, 12pm–4am Saturday and 12pm–12am Sunday.

Published on June 20, 2023 by Ben Hansen
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