Anything goes in Sydney's alternative hub of Newtown.
By Ellie Schneider
The inner west suburb of Newtown is arguably Sydney's most eclectic neighbourhood. By day, the free-spirited nature of its thrift shops, cafés and galleries prevail, while after hours hordes of students revel in its diverse nightlife – from indie music to avant-garde cinema and bars. In Newtown things are a little left of centre and the locals love it.
- Pick up vintage threads in the boutiques along King Street
- Enjoy a night out at Newtown’s rooftop bars
- See a live gig at a venerable music venue
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Top things to do in Newtown
Taste global cuisines
You could spend a whole day eating around Newtown. If you are in the mood for “dude food” head to Mary’s, a buzzing bar famed for its burgers and fried chicken. Or try the American-driven menu at Hartsyard, with dishes such as fried oysters, poutine and smoked lamb ribs. For a meal to remember, make reservations for chef Karl Firla’s eight-course dègustation at Oscillate Wildly. The menu makes the most of local, sustainable produce with contemporary dishes such as whiting with radish and ink. For dumplings head to Luyu & Yum Yum where tasty parcels are packed with everything from chicken, prawn and truffle to homemade chicken soup. Don’t miss a scoop of gelato from Cow and the Moon on Enmore Road which, in 2014, won the top spot in the Gelato World Tour in Rimini, Italy or the signature strawberry watermelon cake at Black Star Pastry.
Shop the eclectic boutiques along King Street
The bohemian HQ is home to a great range of vintage stores, specialty shops and fashion boutiques, which are concentrated along King Street. Retrospec’d specialises in reproducing clothing from the 1940s and '50s, offering an incredible collection of printed dresses, skirts and shirts. Find vintage band T-shirts, leather jackets and statement accessories at Cream on King, then browse floor-to-ceiling bookshelves at Better Read Than Dead. Visit O’Connell Street Merchants, an independent boutique for men and women, which is housed in a converted warehouse above Brewtown Newtown. You can also shop collectable music and books at the Newtown Market, held Saturdays between 10am and 4pm at Newtown Square.
Enjoy the live music scene
Enmore Theatre is one of Sydney’s oldest running live music venues. Built in 1908, it has evolved over a century to blend elements of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. The Enmore, as it's known to locals, offers a diverse line up of live music, theatre and comedy and has played host to some of the world’s biggest bands including The Rolling Stones, Oasis and Coldplay. Leadbelly also feature regular shows by up and coming artists alongside a full menu of food and drinks. Book their Dinner and a Show option for a reserved table and a one or two course meal to enjoy as you watch some of the best young artists hit the stage.
Drink at some of Sydney’s best bars
Old pubs, small bars, breweries, beer gardens, there’s no shortage of places to enjoy a tipple in Newtown. Start in the late afternoon with a visit to Young Henrys, a microbrewery known for its flavoursome brews and unique collaborative efforts, which in the past has included famous rock’n’roll bands and radio stations. The Courthouse Hotel, or the Courty to locals, is a casual beer garden serving classic pub favourites such as burgers and chicken parmigiana. Check out Louisiana-style Earl’s Juke Joint, which is hidden behind a butcher facade on King Street. Sip bespoke cocktails; such as the Naked Ape (rum, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, banana liqueur, Angostura bitters) while listening to a soundtrack of ’90s hip hop. Balmy summer nights are best spent at Corridor's laid back rooftop, mojito in hand, with a selection of tasty bar snacks such as grilled haloumi and fried chicken steamed buns.
How to get there
Newtown is located four kilometres (2½ miles) southwest of the city centre. The quickest way to get here is by train from Town Hall station, which takes around 10 minutes. Buses also run from Hyde Park on Elizabeth Street to Newtown and take approximately 30 minutes.