From lattes to late-night jazz, and artisan pickles to no-frills Vietnamese, Marrickville has lots to offer if you know where to look.
By Paul Chai
Marrickville, a multicultural suburb in Sydney's Inner West, is a great mix of a heaving high street, artisan producers, industrial warehouses that have been converted into boutique breweries, and some of the best places for brunch in the city.
- See a gig in a secret jazz joint
- Have brunch at Cornersmith
- Sit among the shiny tanks at a boutique brewer
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Top things to do in Marrickville
Join the queue at Marrickville Pork Roll
At a modest shopfront with a red awning you'll find what are widely considered the best banh mi (Vietnamese pork rolls) in Sydney. Huge queues form at Marrickville Pork Roll for its baked-on-the-premises baguette with rich strips of barbecued pork accompanied by fresh, crunchy vegetables and a house-made secret sauce. Other meat fillings, such as chicken, are also available.
Have a beer at Batch Brewing
Boutique beer lovers huddle among the huge silver tanks of Batch Brewing Co in a converted warehouse away from the Marrickville town centre. American owners Andrew Fineran and Chris Sidwa started Batch with a pale ale from their home country but now have a huge range of specialty local brews. Beers on tap rotate regularly, but you'll usually find their original, the American Pale Ale, on offer, as well as one or two more playful options, such as the 2Peach Shakur, a peach-flavoured sour ale. A changing roster of neighbouring food trucks keeps drinkers well fed from Thursdays to Sundays. Batch also does a roaring trade in takeaway “growlers” (large refillable glass beer bottles).
Eat ethically at Cornersmith
Cornersmith is all about community. This Marrickville café, with cool white tiles and a regularly changing blackboard menu, sources its ingredients as freshly and ethically as possible. That might mean a local bringing in an excess of homegrown vegetables or one of the area's artisan producers working with the café to reduce waste (the whey in the café's waffles, for example, comes from a local cheesemaker). On nearby Illawarra Road is the café's Cornersmith Picklery, a shopfront that sells the house-made pickles and Cornersmith cookbook, and houses the Cornersmith cooking school.
Listen to jazz at LazyBones
A jazz joint with a late licence, LazyBones Lounge has been a hit with locals since it opened in 2013. It's wonderfully over the top, with chandeliers hanging over the long bar, mismatched regal chairs, framed original artworks and vintage couches, as well as a stage decked out with lush red curtains. Owner Craig Pieterson is passionate about music and you'll find live jazz performances here most nights, as well as a lively local crowd sipping local boutique brews on tap and sharing a cheese plate or barbecue ribs.
Explore the Addison Road Centre
On the weekend, the Addison Road Community Centre is home to the Marrickville Market, which showcases the area's organic producers and has stalls selling vintage goods and street food snacks. Nearby is the permanent warehouse of Reverse Garbage, stacked with cast-offs from costume shops, department stores and even old Mardi Gras floats. The space has been recycling things for more than four decades and is always full of locals keen for a browse.
Have brunch at West Juliett café
This simple local café – with painted white walls, polished wood tables and outdoor tables for a sunny day – became so popular that it had to spill over into the garage next door, which has a huge communal table and the same amazing baked goods. A West Juliett Café brunch might be a bacon and egg roll with house-made chilli marmalade aioli, or a house-baked spelt banana bread. But it is the cookies for which the café is most famous – try the bigger-than-average macarons or a huge chocolate-chip cookie. Both go perfectly with a cold-brew coffee.
Order a latte from Coffee Alchemy
Coffee Alchemy is a regular on “Sydney's best coffee” lists. Owner Hazel de los Reyes is crazy about caffeine, and it shows. Alchemy started out as a small coffee roaster then added its unassuming café soon after. Try a latte made with the house standard Goodness Gallileo blend or get a bit more creative with specialty roasts such as the Hairy Chest or Holy Hildegard! Alternatively, buy the beans and try to re-create Hazel's brilliance back at home.
How to get there
Marrickville is a 20 minute drive west from the centre of Sydney. Marrickville train station is five stops from Sydney’s Central Station, or a short bus trip.