Following two forced closures in recent months for serious licence breaches, Erskinville’s troubled Imperial Hotel has been sold.

Attracting a $6.5 million price tag, the venue’s new owners, publicans Scott Leash (owner of the Rose of Erskinville) and Fraser Short (operator of The Morrison and the Watsons Bay Hotel) have plans to transform the pub by introducing a high-end dining offering.

Speaking with Fairfax, Short said the venue’s underground space will no longer operate as a nightclub when it reopens in the coming months.

“The place doesn’t have a kitchen,” Short told Fairfax. “I don’t think gentrification has to be moving away from the old. Gentrification can be embracing the old and encouraging a demographic to enjoy it in a different sort of ambience.”

Former owner, Shadd Danesi had run the venue successfully for 13 years, but leased the property to Murat Kilic of Spice International in early 2015 who turned the underground space of the venue into a nightclub called Spice Cellar ERSKNVL. Both closure orders occurred while Kilic held the tenancy.

The venue was initially order to shutdown in June for a 72 hour period following an approved application to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority after a range of serious breaches detected at the venue in June during a targeted operation.

The venue was ordered to shut for a second time from 7pm on Friday 24 July until 7pm on Monday 27 July.

The second temporary closure followed inspections by OLGR and the NSW Police force where ongoing drug dealing and illicit drug use, multiple intoxicated patrons and the serving of alcohol to intoxicated patrons was observed. 

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