If the words ‘pool bar’ fill you with elitist visions of Ivy-like horror, you’re going to find The Old Clare Rooftop Pool & Bar a breath of fresh air. Filled with Chippendale’s arty types, it’s more quirky than fashionista, even attracting Bob Carr on the evening I attended.
On the way up to Level 4, take a stroll around the hallways to take in in the artfully framed remains of the former Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building. It's an interesting mix of old-meets-new, with nifty views of Central Park’s garden walls juxtaposed against heritage brick facades.
The rooftop itself gives you a perspective on Sydney you’ve probably not seen before. Take it in over an imaginative and palate-cleansing twisted gin and tonic. Made on Tanqueray gin lengthened with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic, my favourite combination proved to be the G +T with Lemon & Islay Drops ($16). Now if being outdoors calls for something longer, there’s the Chamomile Highball ($18) combining more Tanqueray with elderflower, chamomile and lemon soda; or everyone’s favourite Pimm’s ($18) brimming with summer fruit.
Bartenders will happily throw your cocktails into plastic if you’re keen on donning your togs and kicking back in the rooftop lap pool. Yes, you heard me right, you can drink alcohol and swim! Whilst lauding the bar that lets adults actually be adults, I hopped into the waist deep lap pool and enjoyed my drink, all without even having to be an overnight hotel guest! That said, after getting the lowdown from a friendly Newtown couple enjoying a staycation (with a surprise upgrade to a suite) the rooms are on my list to experience.
This bar is also perfect to combine with dinner at one of The Old Clare Hotel’s three restaurants – Silvereye, Kensington Street Social and Automata – or with a stroll under the lanterns through the inexpensive Asian hawker outlets in neighbouring Spice Alley.
The Old Clare Rooftop Pool & Bar
Level 4, 1 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Ph: (02) 8277 8277