From the restaurants foodie influencers are raving about, to dim-lit watering holes serving inventive cocktails, this long-standing trendsetting suburb has it all.
First-rate coffee and unique fashion spots by day, bustling pubs at night. Surry Hills has been setting the lifestyle bar for a couple of decades and shows no signs of slowing down. Designer buildings sit alongside heritage marvels and the suburb’s bohemian past can still be felt on leafy street corners.
To get some insider know-how, we recently got some tips from our followers online. Here are your favourite old-school haunts and latest discoveries made not so secret.
Where to grab a bite and unique buys
“Jazzy Cafe Bar @ 212 Devonshire Street Surry Hills is my favourite spot, not just because I love the owners and everything they've done to the place but because Jazzy ticks every box on my coffee fanatic/snob list :). I like my coffee strong, short, spicy and this is what I get every time. Homemade food, friendly staff... what more can one wish for? Aha, nice music of course – well, plenty of that at Jazzy too. It is in the name after all,” said Maia on our online form.
Out of all of your Surry Hills tips, Jazzy Cafe and Bar had the most mentions. Patrons raved about its friendly owners Nina and Jordan, homemade food, great coffee, relaxing atmosphere and music. Fun fact: Jazzy Cafe and Bar is located in the former home of Kate Leigh, a notorious underworld figure made infamous in the Sydney razor gang wars.
“Cuckoo Callay on Crown Street! I really need to get back there,” said lytez95 on Instagram.
Sydney’s bacon mecca. It’s the home of Bacon Festival after all! This aside, the menu is created according to season and market availability. The food is delicious, inventive and everything you want from a weekend breakfast.
“The Collector Store and Chilli Coral – best gift ideas,” said fazzlej on Instagram.
A post-breakfast stroll down Crown Street boutiques is one of Sydney life’s pleasures. Stores like Chill Coral give you a reason to make this walk even more leisurely. Here’s where you’ll find ceramics, fabrics, plant pots, vases and unique gifts from far and wide.
No Surry Hills guide would be complete without Bills. Bill Granger’s spot is an institution – and Danielle on Facebook agrees. The owner-chef popularised Sydney breakfast classics like avocado on toast, after all. Hungry brunchers have been lining up since the 90s to enjoy Bills’ ricotta pancakes. The brand now boasts 13 locations, including Japan and Hawaii. Don’t leave without sipping on a Bellini as you watch the weekend crowds stroll down Crown.
“Suzie Q, best coffee in town, super friendly staff, delicious food with regularly changing menu,” said Rachel on our online form.
A spot for music lovers with a great selection of rare vinyl to go with your scrambled eggs. The menu looks scrumptious and vintage objects scattered throughout the space create a relaxed atmosphere that you won’t want to leave.
“Above the Clouds. Great specialty store with fab service,” said derek.g.smith on Instagram.
In an era when the styles you see on Instagram can arrive in a package before the day ends, specialist boutiques stand out. This is a store that sells a lifestyle: think streetwear, sneakers and snapbacks. You can pick up an item by a new independent designer and have a chat about music with the friendly staff while you browse.
“Paris Texas – cool designer wear and great service!” said jarradgpharvey on Instagram.
This boutique not only boldly borrows its name from a cult film – it proclaims to stock fashion that the masses are yet to discover. Think dreamy vintage: flared denims, flowing summer off-shoulder blouses and pastels. Shop your Lana Del Rey look here.
“Single O is the winner all day everyday” said adamlazzari on Instagram.
Formerly known as Single Origin, this spot started as a small Surry Hills operation that impressed locals with its fruity blend. Almost 20 years on, the café has dropped the ‘rigin’ from its name, but didn’t leave behind its commitment to ethical beans. It now runs a full-blown roast works and you’re sure to spot its blends all over town. No wonder at least 4 Sydneysiders recommended it when asked about their Surry Hills pick.
“Friendly owner who has a very mindfully curated selection of things,” said bananaowl on Instagram.
A thoughtfully curated boutique stocking everything from clothing, to homewares, to beauty products. You’ll find handcrafted objects and Australian brands. A great place to pick up a special gift.
Where to meet for drinks (or late-night cake)
While you’re on your culinary journey, head to Surry Hills for American Express delicious Month Out on 12 March. You'll meet celebrity chefs and enjoy giveaways and live entertainment.
The name comes from a popular Hungarian street food. The perfectly harmonised pastry, flaky and sweet on the outside and soft inside, tastes what this café feels like: homey. But you’re in for more than 1 European dessert. Kürtősh serves up a dazzling display of cakes of various types. According to Robert on Facebook, “Great coffee, great cake.” In true European style, Kürtősh is open until 10pm every day.
Jacob on Facebook put in a “resounding” vote for Dove & Olive as a Surry Hills gem, and said, “It's a sanctuary for the cultured. Memories forever.” So, what makes this local’s pub so special? It serves up some of Sydney’s best pub food, with an American twist. On Sundays you get a comforting roast. Australian Good Food Guide seems to agree. Dove & Olive was voted Readers’ Choice for Best Pub Food in 2019.
“Wild Rover – a really great friendly bar with a very wide selection of whiskeys and the best sausage rolls,” said Karen on Facebook.
Whiskey and sausage rolls? Not a combination you hear often. It happens that the sausage rolls are house made, but if you tire of those, fresh oysters are on the menu. The food selection is short and sweet, but the whiskey options are very generous. Its cosy surrounds are best enjoyed on rainy nights.
“The Clock Hotel on Crown Street never disappoints. A great place for locals, and those not so local too. 2 for 1 meals on Tuesdays is a great excuse for a midweek night out. (The always smiling) Raf and the crew are great and welcome you like family. Josh with the cool manbun is my favourite. Great venue if you’re hosting people from out of town,” said Peter on our online form.
Need we say more?
“The Horse on Crown Street – an amazing, rotating selection of craft beers!” said Tait on our online form.
A huge selection of craft beers, generous happy hours and rooms that can cater to various group sizes. A great choice for a birthday venue, or a spot for an after work catch up.
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