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Imperial Hotel's new entertainment program retains its drag and queer roots

Imperial Hotel's new entertainment program retains its drag and queer roots

CREATED ON // Saturday, 25 April 2015 Author // Cec Busby

With new management now at the helm, the iconic Imperial Hotel in Erskineville is ready to deliver a fresh line-up of entertainment and music which features plenty of goodies for the LGBTI community.

As the long-time home of many of our best drag performers, the Imperial Hotel has always held a special place in the hearts of the LGBTI community.

Imperial co-owner Mike McGrath said the new management have kept this in mind when curating their entertainment program to ensure it delivers a blend of old school drag alongside cutting edge burlesque and performance art as well as DJs and musicians.

“We look forward to seeing the Imperial Hotel blossom again,” said McGrath.

“Our approach is focused on reinvigoration and bringing together the old and the new, with variety and amazing talent.”


Driving the reinvigoration of the grand dame of Sydney’s drag scene is the crew behind the city’s hugely successful underground club, the Spice Cellar. Life and business partners, Murat Kilic and Rebecca Alder can't wait to unleash their sparkling entertainment program on the locals.

Staying true to the LGBTI heritage of the Imperial, the entertainment line-up, which kicks off this week, features local Imperial favourites as well as a new suite of established and emerging artists, including gender illusionists, DJs and musicians honouring the fine arts of drag, cabaret and performance art.

“We have given each bar a new identity to give the existing and new entertainment a fresh perspective,” said Rebecca Alder.

“Each week we will unveil further improvements to decor, food and drinks. This art deco hotel has beautiful bones and heritage, it will be very rewarding to see it regain its former glory.”

Rebecca adds: “However, the real life of the Imperial comes from the inside - the staff, performers and the community... not just a lick of new paint”.


The venue has been divided into three distinct areas. The Imperial Bar will derive its inspiration from local artists, as an accessible and casual social hub, soon to be delivering a fresh range of beverages with a focus on local craft beers

The Cocktail Lounge, also at street level, will serve as a performance space for cabaret, drag shows and live music. A comfortable and free lounge bar where you can watch a show and drink an expertly crafted cocktail all night long.  

The Spice Cellar, relocating from its home on Elizabeth Street in the CBD, takes over the basement and will continue its tradition of featuring international artists regularly with strict music ethos and cutting-edge entertainment programme.

The Imperial Hotel’s evolving entertainment program includes:


Monday to Friday: HAPPY HOUR 5pm - 7pm
Monday to Sunday: LOCALS SPECIALS 7pm - 9pm
Tuesday: Trivia w/ Felicity Frockaccino 7pm +
Friday: Aaron Manhattan (DJ Set) . Amanda Louise + more
Saturday:  Kate Monroe . Paris GrooveScooter + more  
Sunday: Stereogamous & Friends present 'Strobe Light Unicorns’ 2pm til 10pm (Sydney "love-maker" Jonny Seymour, Paul Mac & Guests) + more to be announced

COCKTAIL LOUNGE | Free Entry | 8pm

Wednesday: Cabaret Hosted by Matt Format & Guests ft DJ Dames Jean
Thursday: Dame Gaynor Tension & Doreen Manganini
Friday:  Felicity & Friends
Saturday: House of Drag
+ more to be announced


9th May: Harbour City Bears
8th June:  Vivid Spice


EVERY FRI & SAT: www.thespicecellar.com.au


Curated by Matt Format the front window of the Imperial Hotel (fronting Erskineville Rd) will feature a different local artist installation each month.  The April installation can be viewed now and is showcasing the work of Matt Format. 

The Imperial Hotel is located at 35 Erskineville Road, Erskineville. Go to www.facebook.com/TheImperialHotelSydney


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and online editor of GayNewsNetwork.com.au

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