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Confirmed: Soho House Is Officially Opening Its First-Ever Australian Outpost in Sydney

Soho House is transforming a Crown Street building into a five-storey mega-venue featuring multiple indoor and outdoor dining and socialising spaces — and it's also taking over The Old Clare for SXSW Sydney.
By Ben Hansen
October 06, 2023
By Ben Hansen
October 06, 2023

Huge news: Darlinghurst is set to become home to Soho House Sydney, Australia's first outpost for the ultra-exclusive membership club. The much-hyped global brand already has locations across the world from Berlin to Miami, and is now in the process of transforming a building on the corner of Crown and Foley Street above Shady Pines Saloon, with ambitious plans in the works to completely reshape the space.

The five-storey development is currently subject to City of Sydney approval, but is set to feature a variety of spaces both indoor and outdoor that are designed to facilitate social gatherings, including multiple restaurants and bars across the various levels. Plans submitted to the city council also show a proposed gym, cabaret facilities, and a rooftop terrace and pool.

The plans also reveal anticipated changes to the facade, replacing the building's fairly rundown exterior with a simple, sleek and modern cream and brown design in line with other Soho Houses around the world. Soho House is working with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (The Old Clare Hotel, Bondi Pavilion) in creating the proposed design.

"It's possibly one of the worst-kept secrets, but we're so excited to confirm that we will be opening a Soho House in Sydney in the future," says Soho House Membership Director Dominique Bellas.

Soho House Sydney render by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects

Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects

"While we don't have more details to share at this time, we continue to grow our Cities Without Houses community in Australia and are looking forward to bringing our members a week-long Soho House experience for Sydney's first South by Southwest."

As Bellas stated, the Soho House Sydney announcement comes as the internationally renowned brand hits Australia for SXSW Sydney — taking over The Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale. The dreamy accommodation, pub and rooftop bar is being treated to a Soho House transformation for the eight-day festival.

Soho House and Cities Without Houses members — whether they be travelling Down Under for the festival, or local jetsetters and creatives — will be treated to daily programming and events designed to be reminiscent of what you'd experience at Soho Houses around the world.

Included in the events will be a performance curated by Secret Sounds, a one-night-only dinner from British chef Darren Robertson (Three Blue Ducks, Rocker), an art installation from Paul Davies and an industry event with the not-for-profit Women In Music Australia.

If you want to join the Soho House community in preparation for the inaugural Australian outpost to open, you can apply for a Cities Without Houses membership, which will grant you access to the brand's SXSW Sydney takeover of The Old Clare.

The Old Clare Rooftop

Australia's first-ever Soho House was originally set to open on Domain Road in Melbourne's South Yarra, but developers were forced to ditch plans at the direction of VCAT after strong opposition from local councils and a residents' group.

The Darlinghurst building earmarked for Soho House Sydney has a storied history, taking many forms over the years including Bolot's Embassy Dancing Academy between 1924–30, the Playbox Theatre and Stanley Twig's auction house in the 1930s and, most recently, housing several retail tenants throughout the 2000s including an espresso bar, convenience store and a nail salon.

Now boasting over 40 houses across the globe, Soho House first opened in London in 1995 as a private members club for clientele in the creative sphere. It has since spread throughout Europe and North America, opening restaurants, cinemas, workspaces, spas and bedrooms alongside the traditional clubs. From New York to Istanbul, exclusivity is a common global denominator.

Darren Robertson and Cameron Northway

Soho House Sydney is set to open at 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst — we'll update you with an opening date when one is announced.

Top image: Soho House Sydney render by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer

Published on October 06, 2023 by Ben Hansen
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