Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Hotel Hollywood 




2 Foster Street, Surry Hills


c. 1940


Inter-War Art Deco






The look: This quirky art deco pub is Sydney’s best kept secret. The front bar’s walls are adorned with glamorous 1950s stills of Dorothy, the Hollywood’s muse. Colourful mismatching carpets add to the understated charm and the intimate back bar has cosy booths.
The soundtrack: Tuesday night’s is live jazz and blues. Other nights it’s an eclectic mix from classic Doris Day to the latest cool tunes. Signature drink: The Negroni cocktail ($10) mixed with Campari, gin, sweet vermouth and topped with soda.
Bar snacks: are minimal. There’s the infamous cheese platter ($10) served with olives, three types of cheeses with wafers or a true blue meat pie ($2.50).
Best for: drinking with young, creative types like musicians, actors, film industry bods and journalists.
The wow factor: Doris Goddard, the publican who has been the publican since 1977 was a 1950s movie star. She has worked with legends like Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. If you’re lucky you’ll meet this Sydney institution and she’ll regale you with tales of Hollywood or belt out a tune.
If this bar were an animal it would be: a gorgeous Labrador – comfortable yet cool.

By Kathy Buchanan

Address: 2 Foster St, Surry Hills, Sydney
Phone: 9281 2765
Open: Monday - Saturday
Hollywood Hotel

Broadcast 6.30pm on 20/10/2003

Doris Goddard

Doris Goddard runs the Hollywood Hotel in inner city Sydney. As a young woman Doris left Australia for the U.K to become an actress. By the 1950’s Doris was working in movies with the likes of Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn. On coming home, she took over the lease of the aptly named ‘Hollywood Hotel’ where she has continued to entertain the public with her songs and wit. The Hollywood Hotel is now a star in its own right – seen in Australian movies and television shows like ‘The Erskineville Kings’, ‘Tim’, ‘Blue Murder’ and ‘Brides of Christ’.

Hollywood Hotel

GEORGE NEGUS: Tonight - our intoxicating history - pubs, publicans and their drinkers.

G'day there. Welcome to another week of the program. Tonight, as you would've gathered from that opening teaser, not for the first time, a look at the most Australian of institutions - the pub. In a while, our guest on the couch will be Clare Wright. Clare actually gets paid to - quote, unquote - research pubs and publicans. But she's promised me she won't be slurring a word during our chat. I might, but she won't. Also later, the umbilical connection, you could say, between Aussie pubs and Aussie rock'n'roll. Historically, a surprising number of publicans in this country have been women - sheilas, as they were called in the nasty, old, pre-PC days. Back in the '50s, one of them, Doris Goddard, worked with the likes of Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn in Hollywood. And today, she's still entertaining at her appropriately named Hollywood Hotel in Sydney.

DORIS GODDARD, PUBLICAN: The licence goes back to 1879. And it was called the Nevada. In 1940, they decided to change the name from the Nevada to the Hotel Hollywood because their nearest big industry was the film industry just across the road. It's a tradition in hotels that if it's near a railway, they call it the Railway Hotel, if it's near a cricket ground, they call it the Cricketers Arms, and that's why it got the name Hollywood.

When I first took over the hotel, this was fully tiled on the floor and up the wall. And I put the wood and the carpet on to make life more comfortable for people from the point of view of sound. And it's more cosy.

And we are the only Art Deco hotel left in the city of Sydney. I bought this hotel in 1977. And for various reasons, this little freehold was going at a mortgagee sale and nobody wanted to buy it because the area in those days was pretty rough. And I thought, "No, I can see the change is going to come." And I've always had good-conducted pubs, so I took the chance... (Laughs) ...and put a noose around my neck, financial noose around my neck. But I'm glad I did it now.


DORIS GODDARD: 'Tim' was made here. That was made in 1979.


DORIS GODDARD: Hugh Jackman was here in 'Erskineville Kings'. And I've seen him on television now, how well he's doing.

We've done so many movies because we've got these antique toilets downstairs, where if they need it to be in that particular period - they need a shot in the toilets - that's where they come. 'Blue Murder' was made here, um, 'Brides of Christ', 'Water Rats', all the TV series. So many have been made here.

When I first went to England, of course I wanted to be an actress, we all do. But I found I had an irreversible physical disability. I was 5'8". And the tallest actress that they would allow was about 5'5". And all the actors, very few were more than 5'6" or 7", so, you know, I was towering over them. They said, "Forget going on the stage. And forget going to be a film star." So I turned to the cabaret. And all of a sudden they needed a tall girl to play opposite Bill Travers who was 6'4" in the movie 'Geordie'. And of course there were no tall actresses, they'd all been weeded out. And I got a telegram and I was on the set the next day.


DORIS GODDARD: I worked with Sidney James, James Robertson Justice, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan - anyone that was anyone practically there in that period.


DORIS GODDARD: The reason I got the part in 'Iron Petticoat' with Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope was, again, they wanted a tall girl. And I went down to see the director and he said, "Oh, we've got a shot there," he said, "where you're supposed to try and kidnap Bob Hope."

I was 34. I'd done everything, you know, pretty well in England. And I thought, "No, I'm quite happy. I want to live in Australia now." And I've never regretted going into the hotel industry. As a matter of fact, like a duck to water, or a duck to alcohol, I suppose you might say. What makes the Hotel Hollywood quite unique is that we haven't tried to tart it up. We do renovate and things like that. But we want a comfortable hotel where people come in and they say, "Oh, gee, you know, I feel comfortable." It's like a carpet slipper. And that's what we strive to do, to make people enjoy themselves.

It's had its hard times. But every day, when I wake up, I say, "Thank God I'm alive and I'm gonna enjoy it as much as I can."

GEORGE NEGUS: "Like a duck to alcohol." Great line, Doris. And what a classy trouper. Hollywood to Surry Hills - Doris Goddard. I think they might have thrown away the Doris mould. My mum's name's Doris. Not much Hollywood in her but she loves beer.