Sydney’s Great Art Deco Pubs

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Art deco hotels, or pubs, are a uniquely Australian interpretation and contribution to the art deco era. Between the mid-1930s to the early 1940s, hundreds of these streamlined hotels were built across Australia, in the big cities and outback towns, with Sydney at the epicentre of the trend.

In a new book, Australian Art Deco Hotels, photographer Geoffrey Goddard documents the very best of these treasures, and every curve and colourful detail. It took him 10 years and more than 35,000 road-trip kilometres to complete and it’s filled with more than 300 contemporary photographs, complemented by archival images.

When asked why he thinks this architectural style was so dominant in Sydney Goddard says, “Between the 1930s and ’40s, the two main breweries were Tooth and Co and Tooheys, which were in a very competitive drive to woo customers, so they wanted their pubs to be designed in the latest and greatest style that would appeal and create a sense that the breweries were forward-thinking. These art deco functionalist buildings helped to convey a sense of optimism as Australia was coming out of the depression.

The Clare

Refurbished a number of years ago as part of the Carlton United Brewery redevelopment, the 1941-built Clare Hotel, now The Clare bar and hotel, is known for its striking green terracotta fin with a repeating geometric pattern, which sweeps up and curves over the hotel’s roof line. Its interior deco details are still intact and it has a warm and welcoming front-bar atmosphere.

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