White Horse Hotel, Surry Hills
History and museums, Cafes
The White Horse Hotel is a three-storey pub located at 381 Crown Street in Surry Hills, close to the CBD of Sydney in NSW, Australia. Its appearance is distinguished by a large, iconic sculpture of a silver stallion constructed of galvanised steel, created in a rearing pose and set atop its facade.
The White Horse Hotel was constructed in the 1930s when Surry Hills was a working class suburb. British historian Jane Peyton writes that at that time, the Hotel was a central gathering place for colourful characters.
Since then, Surry Hills has become gentrified over time and with it the Hotel has improved significantly. The Hotel was refurbished in 2004, at which time a new bar and a brasserie were installed, and the silver stallion was lifted onto the roof. According to Peyton, the Scottish designer responsible for the make-over commissioned the sculpture from his homeland, but had difficulty convincing the City of Sydney it was a work of art, rather than an advertisement. The piece was also challenging to import:
It was made in Scotland by sculptor Andy Scott, cut into pieces, shipped to Australia and then reconstructed on the roof.
Nevertheless, the sculpture was approved by the City of Sydney and installed, and is now a key feature of Crown Street.
In 2005 the Hotel was purchased by Precision Group for $7.5 million.
The site was again refurbished in 2014 to update lounge areas, restaurant, function room, and a roof top terrace and garden.
Notably, designer Matt Woods commissioned local artists such as Ben Morris to decorate the walls in the downstairs section with murals around the theme "café racer-inspired" bar as part of an approach "rooted in the heritage of the site".