The Imperial Hotel

95% love it
Drag and cabaret favorite

This venue features three bars in one--cabaret, cellar, and Priscilla. The Imperial is a great location to visit if you want to catch a drag show, just be warned that this is a popular bar, so it's usually pretty packed. The opening scenes of the movie "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," were shot on location.


    • scim
      scim Over a year ago

      Visit while you still can!

    • Megham13
      Megham13 Over a year ago
      Hates it

      So, Friday night, my friend and I went to check out The Imperial for the start of our adventure. We get there and a drag queen is performing and we have a great time singing along. Then my friend pulls out her phone to Snapchat the fun we are having to our other friends so they can come and join, but then the drag queen comes and takes her phone off of her and starts to tease her, by now everyone in the room is cussing at my friend telling her to sit down or leave. My friend plays along with the drag queen singing and dancing her way over to him to get her phone back, the drag queen then proceeds to tell her she's disrespectful and all sorts. He purposely bullied and victimized her in front of many, thus ruining our night out. Would not recommend as the drag queen performing on Friday nights bullies for attention during his show.

    • Sleazymichael
      Sleazymichael Over a year ago
      Loves it

      The best night 'OUT' now in Sydney - NO CONTEST
      25th May 2015: For the best night 'OUT' in Sydney The Imperial Hotel, 35 Erskineville Road (cnr Union St.) Erskineville Sydney, NSW 2043 - No Contest! Fell in love with this venue - for me the best night 'OUT' now in Sydney - NO CONTEST - Found via a Time Out recommend - Friday 22nd May (MEANWHILE ft. YOLANDA BE COOL // SPICE CELLAR ERSKNVL (VIVID) - loved so much went again on 23rd May - leaving 7.30am Sunday morning then back for my 3rd visit in the afternoon! - Ironic this iconic venue famous for the opening & closing scenes from "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" has benefited from the draconian 1.30am lockouts imposed last year ( 2014 ) in the traditional party zones of Kings Cross, George Street and Darlinghurst. Erskineville lies outside the lockout zone. This venue is a cab ride from the city but trust me you will not be disappointed - I would give my right arm to have a club like this in London! Only recently in April did top DJ's descend on the venue all displaced by the lockout which has crippled venues, some have already closed, and even the cab trade is suffering. Is this venue GAY - STR8? No! This is how EVERY club should be, a perfect cross-over of ALL sexualities - terrific drag shows at street level and fab disco soul funk themes in two rooms, then the vast basement club with state of the art lighting & sound offering a very different music vibe - I just love the mix. Met so many fab people, just loved the crowd - gay/str8/trans - whatever - no attitude - perfect! Lovely staff, friendly security, plenty of comfy seating - DJ's out of this world - what more could YOU ask for? This venue is the reason I am so coming back next year for Mardi Gras - I do hope you manage to organize a float, that would be awesome! and don't forget to include Priscilla!

    • Soup
      Soup Over a year ago
      Hates it

      This place couldn't manage a fart..
      Walked in sober, used the restrooms, had a smoke outside upstairs, came down to order a drink and we were then kicked out for "giving the bar staff a hard time and that management wanted us gone" ...... All we said to the people at the bar was "can I please get two Carltons". We did not swear or make a scene when asked to leave, then noticed they were kicking a lot of others out for no reason too. I suggest if you can't control numbers in your club, you're in the wrong profession. The law is that you must move 50metres from the premises and we were well away from the red zone. Security then came up to us and tried to intimidate us to keep moving.... Such dodgy business especially on Mardi Gra. First time there and won't be back. We ended up finding a cute little bar down the road with a really down to earth bartender. Imperial could have easily got our money that night, but so glad our money went somewhere else.

    • bobby54
      bobby54 Over a year ago
      Loves it

      Lots Of Fun
      My friends and I stumbled into this place by accident at happy hour,and it turned out to be a happy accident. Three floors with a fun crowd and a great staff. The drinks were strong and the boys smoking' hot. Needless to say a good time and two staff members was had by all.

    • Deekayoz
      Deekayoz Over a year ago
      Hates it

      A Sydney institution
      The Impy has been around for years and after recently going through a makeover is back! The main public bar is free to get in with a couple of pool tables and lots of gay boys and lesbians to share a drink with. The back bar is where the drag shows are performed and has a cover charge which varies depending on the night you are there. The downstairs bar, although not as well patronized as the other bars is much better from my point of view. Overall, the Impy is great but their drink prices tend to be a bit high. They do have a Sunday arvo drinks special which is very popular. The downstairs bar is regularly used for theme parties which always go off! :)

    • jonnybastin
      jonnybastin Over a year ago
      Loves it

      The Home of Honey
      The underground bar at the Imperial is now the home of Honey - Sydney's newest party for bears & cubs. Funky house & spunky men. or www.facebook/honeysydney

    • blondofborg
      blondofborg Over a year ago
      Hates it

      Neighbourhood bar at a premium price
      One of the most balanced venues in Syd, with a healthy mix of gay boys and lesbians, and its ever present drag culture. But playing on its Priscilla heritage, it charges $15 just to get into the drag bar and downstairs nightclub (there is a free public bar which is usually packed) - then hefty prices for drinks after that. Upstairs dance floor is usually drink-sticky. Downstairs is better maintained - and less popular. The drag shows are fine, but you can see better at Midnight Shift for free.

    • Geor61
      Geor61 Over a year ago
      Loves it

      The old girl is back.
      Now reopened great new decor and same mixed crowd which always made the Imperial a nice change from Oxford St. Definitely a landmark of gay Sydney history worth checking out.

    • heymrleej
      heymrleej Over a year ago
      Loves it

      it's reopened!
      After a few years of renovations the Imperial has reopened. as chaotic as ever. good dhows albeit more expensive but a better option than dragging myself to Oxford St Meat Market...

    • sho278
      sho278 Over a year ago
      Loves it

      imperial hotel
      Went there last Sunday 2 days after there opening day on Friday after long refurbishment for 3 years. Out front bar still the same color of painting but the inside of the hotel is impressing enough to chill out and have a pickaboo at the back part which was closed when I was there but overall nice hotel/bar/club. DTE crowds of innerwestie not like oxford crowds. Will be there again this weekend for sure.

    • jase47
      jase47 Over a year ago
      Hates it

      Promsies, promises
      Although the new, renovated club has not reopened, those of us who remember when the Impy was one of the best spots in Sydney think the owner of this institution, Shadd Danes (also owner of the aging ARQ and The Sly Fox), has frankly generated enormous animosity amongst the clientele he seeks to attract. The Imperial closed in September of 2007 for "four to six months" of renovations. Constant claims that he's been hampered by Council and local residents simply don't add up, and he has positioned himself as a victim of homophobia to mask his cost overruns, mismanagement and his own ego. Now the promises of a fourth of September opening (about the sixth or seventh announcement in the three years) will be a big test as to whether the wait has been truly worth it. One thing's for certain: the glossy makeover means that it will NOT be the Impy of old and its former clientele will probably not be pleased. The lights are on, the bottle are full and the drag queens are ready to perform. But so far, the doors are still closed.