Bars and Nightclubs
Sydney CBD, Sydney

Chinese Laundry

111 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW
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One of Sydney’s biggest and longest running nightclubs, and was recently rated the number 1 club in Sydney and 67 in the world, Chinese Laundry consistently brings the best international, interstate and local kings of house, electro, tech, pregressive, Baltimore and breaks. Hidden beneath the Slip Inn, the Laundry creates a sense of mystique, and has the ability to tranport lovers of electronic music into another dimension.

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Chinese Laundry Review

Review By Kelly Teng

After hearing about Chinese Laundry for months and months on end, and seeing it have so many ‘fans’ on this website, I decided to take a shot and go see it for myself: after all, the nightclub that was voted #1 in Sydney must have something incredible to offer for a night out, right?

Perhaps it was my high expectations, but I ended up being a little underwhelmed. The experience was average, and – while the club was okay – everything else was a little disappointing. The concept of the club is great: an outdoor garden area, three themed rooms, and a crazy variety of music should merge together into the ultimate clubbing destination… but this concept was lost on me as I went through this nightclub that is most definitely overpriced and overrated.

The first problem I had occurred before I even stepped into the door: that notorious entry fee. On Friday and Saturday nights entry is $20, which is a lot when you are a poor university student. When you are paying $20 to get in to a nightclub, it can put a downer on your night and skyrocket your expectations of how good the location is. On top of this expensive entry fee, the drinks were also expensive: while $6 for a 355mL of Pure Blonde is not absolutely ridiculous, it just doesn’t seem worth it when had to pay entry fee AND you could get it for $3-5 anywhere else.

Once I was in there, I must say that despite everything, I enjoyed some of the decor: there is a strong sense of theme to the rooms and the Asian-style figurines do add something extra to the nightclub. However, the ceiling in the rooms ruined the atmosphere with how low they were, and the rooms were not adequately lit: when you’re clubbing, you want to have darkness with bursts of bright lighting, not darkness with no light. The music is great for lovers of electronic beats, and average for those of us with loves for other genres of music; the tracks are danceable and can be enjoyable, but if an international song comes on then expect to take a break from dancing and start being clueless.

In all honesty, all of this would have been tolerable if not for the aspect that disappointed me the most: the people. Normally if a nightclub doesn’t live up to expectations, the night can still be salvaged if the energy or the people are good. Chinese Laundry has some great people, but there is too much of an age difference in its clubbers: I found 18 year olds and 30 year olds all within five seconds of walking around. This age difference makes Chinese Laundry feel seedy, as opposed to the class that Merivale usually bestows on all of its locations.

The bottom line is this: Chinese Laundry is a place that you can enjoy if you are rich, drunk, with a massive group of friends, or if you love electronic music. While it may be an incredible experience worthy of the title “Sydney’s Number One Club” to some, my experience of it was simply this: One of Sydney’s most disappointing nightclubs.

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A 2nd Review of Chinese Laundry

Review By Tanya Rao

Up for a big substance-fuelled night in Sydney? The Laundry is the place to do it.

It’s sneakily tucked underneath the much more average and demure Slip Inn…take the stairs down and join the queue of eager kids. The cover charge most Friday and Saturday nights is a bit steep $20 try to get there before 11 and save $5.

The main dance area is fitted with mirrors, washing machines and moody red lanterns. It’s got an eclectic style without being too flash. There is a lot of sweat, foot shuffling and joyful gyrating. DJs play sugary house and electro (Ajax, PNAU, Muscles) intelligently mixed with melodic grooves. It is crowded but you can still move your arms, and there is room on the floor for the most adept or carefree dancer. Everyone is quite young 18 to 25 but there is a mix. It is a shame about the foundation-caked girls and muscled up/pilled up douches shoving, but what can you do? People are into it and it really is a lot of fun.

Drinks are pretty standard for a club: there is beer on tap for $5-$7, and a Smirnoff Black will set you back $11.50. You may have to wait for it, though. In the corner there is cosy orange seating where you can gossip, drink, have the odd pash, and watch Astroboy on the flat screen. It’s a lovely hub. Astroboy and rapid beats make the perfect combination. There is some interesting graffiti art on the toilet doors, and there may be someone snorting lines in the stalls. Stop by at the wacky circus mirrors for some strange effects.

Head down the corridor to the darkest of all the rooms. Here they play psytrance, breaks and drum & bass between the old sandstone walls. It is quite intense and trippy. Not my favourite… I find the beat too jerky or something. If it’s all getting too much head upstairs to the courtyard where you can breathe in the night air and hear yourself think. It’s the spot for relaxed conversation, and there is a bar and some pot plants. Yes, you can see people in the light and hear what they have to say, but it’s all a bit too civilised in my opinion. Once you’ve caught your breath, get back down in the action and get your $20 worth!

Fridays and Saturdays go until 5 in the morning, so feel free to party on. Chinese Laundry has everything you could ask for in a high energy club, overlooking the fools and gurners. Dark and seedy enough so you don’t feel intimidated, but cool enough so you don’t feel overdressed. The quirky interiors entertain and the maze of rooms caters for all electronic niches. You can dance how you like and nobody is getting clean.

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A Third Review of Chinese Laundry

Review by Claudia Cimino

So we all know the fairytale, Mary meet Prince Fredrick and became a princess. But do you know where she met him? In Sydney of course, specifically, down near Darling Harbor, on the corner of Sussex Street, at the Slip Inn.

But if you dare follow the stairs that surround the Slip Inn, lies something suited more for a prince in shining Vans or flat caps that is Chinese Laundry. Now, don’t expect to find any dirty clothes or washing baskets lying around; instead you’ll find dirty beats, fast paced drum and bass, techno and progressive sounds, breaks and electro and the melodic chaos that is taking over right about now, dubstep.

Chinese Laundry really takes off on Friday and Saturday nights, with both local and international acts really putting it on the map and it has proudly hosted big acts such as Nero, Netsky, 12th Planet, Bassnectar, Chase and Status, Noisia and many more. But the great thing about the laundry is the three areas it has that draws in such a diverse crowd.

The crowd that tends to frequent the Laundry can range from people who just finished work and want some drinks up in the courtyard, to young, hormone driven and energy fuelled Sydney-siders who crave their weekly taste of bass (and alcohol). I have even seen many keen, enthusiastic and music loving 30 year old bass heads come on down and have a good night.

But sometimes, a good night can first begin with a wait in line for a fair bit of time on Friday and Saturday nights, especially when a big international act is scheduled to play, so having promoters as friends on Facebook for the Laundry is very helpful. Expect to open the wallet to get in, not only to show your I.D but to dish out a $20 entry fee ($25 after 11pm) and drinks are fairly reasonable ranging from $6 beers and $6 to $8 spirits. The great thing about grabbing a drink is the 3 active bars located around the Laundry so you rarely wait very long to stay hydrated. The Laundry is also a great spot to head for a birthday as they really take care of you with guest lists, a reserved table and champagne on arrival.

But all in all, the Laundry is the place to go with an amazingly energetic and fun group of friends who are up for a good time, dance downstairs or chat in the courtyard. Everyone that goes there is also super cool and chilled and really friendly, so don’t expect any seedy men or dolled up girls walking around the placed. And by saying that, the dress code is so comfortable and chilled so a pair of shorts, top and wedges is awesome for the ladies and jeans, t-shirt and even hat is acceptable. My biggest tip for my lady friends: don’t spend too much time on your hair because after heading down to the basement room, you will come out dripping.

Downstairs there is another room called The Cave, which is usually not as full as the basement room and is beaming with lights and drum and bass. The basement room is the first place I head to where you can dance, not see who is next to you due to the lack of light in there and hangout in the couch area that is hidden behind the bar. In here, you can literally get up and close with the DJ playing that night, have a drink from the smaller bar or sit and even watch cartoons playing on screens in the couch area, with its red couches, golden statues, mirrors, coy fish paintings and washing machines jazzing up the walls and room. Back upstairs, you will find a long open courtyard with gorgeous fairy lights, tables and stools with a long bar right near by and smaller bar out back.

Even though this Chinese Laundry is under the umbrella of Merivale, don’t expect a quite evening with a few drinks. Go down there with an open mind, comfortable shoes and the expectation that your ears will be ringing thanks to the music.

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