Bookers Night Spot/For Lease – Surry Hills, NSW

Perched at the intersection of Chalmers and Cleveland Streets are a variety of notable buildings: the old Australia Post headquarters; the colonial era Cleveland Street Public School; that ancient backpackers hostel. The odd one out is this building, which has sat unused and for lease until very recently, when part of it was turned into a greengrocer. The other part still sits dormant, waiting for another chance at life.

Around the side we can see that it was for sale long ago. So old is the sale that the sold stickers have become partially transparent. The sign to the right has been painted over along with the rest of the building, and still myriad signs and lettering can be seen underneath the coat, some of which seems to suggest the place had a restaurant…but that’s not the lettering we’re interested in.

At some point in the past, this place was Bookers [sic] Night Spot, the only pub or club I could find attributed to this address. Half price drinks were on sale between 10pm-11:30pm. It featured two floors, and pool tables. Not the most dynamic attributes a night spot could have, but aside from the weak offerings it’s unclear when or why the club closed. The competition from the pubs down near Central Station or up at Crown Street might have played a part, and that the area is much more gentrified than ever. It’s easy to imagine this may have been yet another corner pub once, serving thirsty shift workers from Australia Post, or a tram stop on what was once a busy corner for the light rail.

ATHENIAN UPDATE: As reader Luke says, this location was once the Athena Greek nightclub/Restaurant. The only remnant of this today is the ironwork affixed over the east window:


7 responses

  1. I’m pretty sure it was a brothel after the Night Spot closed. The red paint job (since covered over) was a clue.

  2. For many years this was the wonderful “Beirut by Night” Lebanese restaurant and cabaertet club – late 70s to probably mid 90s

  3. Between 1984, at least, and well into the 90’s the shopfront window on the corner was crammed with junk, tantalizingly drawing one closer, only to be frustrated by its never being open in all those years. Some compulsive hoarder/collector just used it for their own purposes/
    The door that can be seen on the right end of the building led upstairs to a nightclub called Rezerection (get it? – real classy) around 1996-97 which had live jazz for a minute.
    By the way, cool website and a good read!

  4. This building was at one stage a greek nite club/restaurant called “Athena”
    At the eastern side of the building there is the word “Athena” in wrought iron in front of the window

  5. I ran a club night there once a fortnight in 1999. I lived across the road from abot 97-2000. in that time it was I am pretty sure a brothel, then briefly a nightclub called Sunny Side Up, then it was taken over by Ted Vassel and became Power Cuts Reggae Club, who gave us the club to use as we felt fit, asking nothing in return other than takings from the bar. I was a great space, but unfortunately shut down due to ONE neighbour, who would religiously make noise complaints to the police. No matter how much the volume went down, no matter how much sound proofing you did, no matter how early you closed, this guys wold call the cops. Yet he lived on the corner of one of the loudest streets in the city.

    1. Yes I remember when it was sunny side up. Can’t remember what style of music etc

  6. Was definitely a “rub and tug” joint for a while in the late 90’s …I know this for sure as I worked there 🙂 …didnt last long, like everything else that has been attempted in this building…no idea why …just an unlucky building perhaps ??

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