Five best heritage venues in Sydney
You want to throw a party in a crumbly, old building? I hear you! I love heritage architecture, especially Victorian-era civic buildings that took decades to build and went waaaaay over budget. Here are my Sydney faves.
1. The Tearoom
Located on the top floor of the Queen Victoria Building on George St, the tearooms are about as grand as you can get. With humongous chandeliers, velvet furnishings and proper china, you can get away with pretending you’re a Russian aristocrat meeting her lover (even if you’re actually having high tea with your Gran).
2. Sydney Town Hall
I love me a town hall and it doesn’t get any swisher than this one. With an antechamber, a main ballroom/concert theatre, an intimidating looking pipe organ and a basement full of phantoms (OK, I made that bit up), this is a doozy of a venue. There are plenty of smaller meeting rooms upstairs if you don’t need to seat 500 people.
I must also give some love to the Glebe Town Hall where The Spark and I got hitched, as well as the Marrickville and Petersham Town Halls which are both stunning examples of Art Deco/Art Nouveau architecture from the 1920s-30s.
3. The Mint, The Barracks and Parliament of NSW
I am lumping these three together because they neighbour each other on Macquarie St and are rumoured to have subterranean tunnels connecting them. The Barracks has a spacious, sunny courtyard perfect for long lunches at long tables, The Mint has an old bullion vault where you can host private dinners, and NSW Parliament House has the Stranger’s Dining Room where you can stage relatively sedate soirees. A bonus is that the glass wall is missile proof.
4. Golden Age cinema and bar
This is a glorious venue, complete with hidden stage (hint: it’s behind the velvet curtain in the bar area). Housed in Paramount Picture’s old headquarters, this former screening room comes complete with a bar that could be straight out of a David Lynch film; the sexiest place in the city for cinephiles.
5. Majestic Gourmet Grocer and Harvest Bar
This heritage-listed cinema and roller-rink has been converted into an epic grocery store, restaurant and tapas bar. While it’s a little bit out of town (it’s in Petersham), it’s worth the schlep just to see how the building has been repurposed. If this fails to spark your imagination, the menu will do the job just fine. In the Harvest Bar where The Spark were lucky enough to spend our Friday evening, we loved the fork-tender beef cheek, the pork belly with apple slaw, the herb and parmesan chips, and the ricotta and silverbeet flatbread. The wine list has some excellent oddities so I encourage you to try some of the quirkier styles listed by the glass.