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The best vintage shops locals try to keep secret

Locals share their go-to op shops and favourite vintage stores.

In 2019 we asked residents to suppress the urge to keep their favourite treasure troves secret and nominate their number ones.

Now it's more important than ever to support local businesses where you can, just make sure you're prepared for a safe and fun time.

Over the coming weeks, we're revisiting our Sydney Local guides. Check out what vintage experts had to say. And send us an email if we missed your favourite spot.

Route 66

2/82-24 Enmore Road
Newtown

“Route 66 is the best curated vintage store in the Southern Hemisphere. Staff are #1.” said @Face_slayer666 on Instagram.

The tunes, the customer service and, of course, the clothes: this family-run shop is “as close to an institution as a vintage store can get”, as one fan put it. Loaded with threads from the 50s to the 90s, Route 66 specialises in Western gear and 1970s cowboy vibes. After 30 years fitting denim flares in Darlinghhurst, the team moved to Newtown in 2019, where it’s settled in opposite another local fave, Cairo Takeaway (perfect for a post-shopping refuel).

Vintage at 313

313 King Street
Newtown

“The people are cool and the clothes are even cooler,” said Julia on our online form.

This one is a boon for the modern vintage fan: it’s stuffed to the gills with Mickey Mouse tees from the 80s and Adidas galore circa 1993 – and claims to be Sydney’s largest vintage store. While packed with treasures, the 2-level shop doesn’t overwhelm thanks to smart edits and organised areas covering everything from vintage Hawaiian shirts to rare Levis.

Ted Noffs Op Shops

461 King Street
Newtown

454 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills

“They are well priced, great labels, service - and funds go to helping drug and alcohol affected youth,” said Kimberley on our online form.

Bargain hunters adore these unpretentious op shops, which offer all their pre-loved wares at $5 or less. Like most of their type, it’s a game of chance - making each visit a fun opportunity to uncover a diamond in the rough. If you find big vintage stores and warehouse-style op shops too overwhelming, these stores will be your cup of tea: they’re small, well laid-out and run by volunteers who are there for the love of it.

The Stitch Up

583 King St
Newtown

“Don’t even know where to start! They have it all: toys, clothes, video games. They don’t care if you don’t buy anything they just are happy to chat,” said Grettle on our online form.

Run by 2 mates who love 90s and 00s streetwear culture, this store is like entering a time portal to your childhood and teen years. Think Charlotte Hornets basketball singlets, vintage Nikes and Tazos. The whiff of nostalgia and a free Street Fighter game is as much of a drawcard as the wares.

Wayside Chapel op shop

29 Hughes Street
Potts Point

40-42 Warners Avenue
North Bondi

“There are always great finds,” said Adriana on our online form.

Tucked behind Macleay Street, the Wayside Chapel’s op shop might have been around for decades, but it has a high turnover of designer, modern and vintage clothes and homewares, so you’ll always find something new - and locals love the reasonable prices. Located next to the chapel itself, all proceeds help fund Wayside’s programs for the community’s most marginalised.

Fabrique Vintage

1 Wilson Street
Newtown

127 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst

“Wide range of vintage finds, good prices, and the customer service is amazing,” said Fia on our online form.

Old school Chucks, denim galore and some rare treasures, Fabrique supplies Sydney with vintage wares 7 days a week. While the Darlinghurst store focuses mostly on duds with plenty of history - much of it from Europe and the US - the Newtown outpost is a den of modern vintage for the 80s and 90s tragics.

Minerva Vintage

109B Macleay Street
Potts Point

“From beautiful clothes to one-of-a-kind accessories and quirky homewares, this shop has it all! It is my favourite place to find those stand-out pieces,” said Stella on our online form.

Named for the cinema that once stood in the same art deco building, this compact shop punches above its weight when it comes to its offerings. Carefully curated by its friendly owner, Gregory, vintage aficionados are fans of rifling through swathes of kimonos, piles of vintage linen and loads of jewellery.

Recycology

Mitchell Road Antiques
17 Bourke Road
Alexandria

“It has genuine vintage, dating from the 1930s through to the 1980s, with a particular love of the 1960s. The prices are realistic, stock is in excellent condition and rotates all the time,” said Linda on our online form.

The sprawling warehouse that houses Mitchell Road Antiques is a browser’s dream, and vintage mavens head directly to Recycology, one of the small but perfectly formed stalls within. While the pieces span decades, they all have one thing in common at this temple to fun: they’re colourful, quirky and eye catching.

Uturn

Shop 33/277 Crown Street
Surry Hills

305 King Street
Newtown

“I love the versatile styles between all the different locations - there’s always something unique and interesting,” said Teighan on Facebook.

Fans of this small chain of vintage and contemporary second-hand stores rave about the reasonable prices and helpful staff, but the clothes are the real star: there’s nothing stale or sedate about the stock here. Think bright overalls, Kurt Cobain sunnies, oversized 90s tees and the kind of dresses your mum wishes she wore in the 80s.

Grand Days

220 William Street
Woolloomooloo

“Fantastic selection of books, records, clothing and homewares – a one-stop-shop for all things vintage!” said Flornes on our online form.

Just a few minutes walk from Kings Cross train station, Grand Days is a tardis of a shop: from the outside it looks like a hole in the wall, but head in and you’ll realise there are several rooms, filled to the brim with secondhand books, vinyl, vintage clothing and curiosities. Open 7 days, the little nook is perfect for browsing (and buying).

Storeroom Vintage

316-318 Crown Street
Surry Hills

“Often imitated never replicated! Storeroom brings a one of a kind vibe and has been doing so for the past 5 years. They are the go-to spot for vintage clothing in Sydney for celebs and people visiting from overseas,” said Roman on our online form.

If you’re looking for vintage Harley Davidson tees, sports team sweaters or normcore basics, Storeroom Vintage has it all--and repeat customers rate it as the cleanest vintage store in town. It has even introduced a line of retooled dresses and matching sets made from vintage tees and retro Adidas tracksuit pants.

Dolly Up Vintage Emporium

382 Cleveland Street
Redfern

“Excellently curated vintage pieces sourced from around the world. Erin’s impeccable edit is every vintage hunter’s dream!” said Bo on our online form.

Come for the stand-out pieces, stay for the personalised service: fans of this sweet store adore the owner, Erin, whose fashion intuition appears to be spot on. Offering in-house tailoring, it’s the place to go when you’re searching for something to wear on a special occasion (don’t miss the exquisite wedding dresses).

Zoo Emporium

180 Campbell Street
Surry Hills

“Eclectic and diverse range of vintage for both women and men,” said Louise on our online form.

Oversized earrings from the 80s? Tick. Dead stock vintage purses from Japan? Tick. Theatre costumes so elaborate they need their own postcode? Tick, tick, tick. Zoo Emporium is a dual-level hotbed of colour, texture and creative expression. The boutique specialise in 70s and 80s fabulousness, but there’s everything from neat 40s dress suits to 60s sequined shift dresses to be found in this wondrous cave of delights.

AXL Bazaar

35 Elizabeth Bay Road
Elizabeth Bay

“Fantastic and passionate customer service,” said Eva on our online form.

The peppy red and white pinstripe awning signals the colourful but chic aesthetic of this luxury vintage boutique. The local favourite is stocked with incredible pieces from the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Prada and Chanel - as well as quality non-designer vintage sourced and curated from around the world.

The Glebe Community Op Shop

133 Glebe Street
Glebe

“Run by locals with so much community soul and great bargains,” said @hannah.joy.murphy on Instagram.

An old-school non-profit op shop perched on a corner of a quiet Glebe street, the Oppy (as it’s known to locals) offers everything from fabric remnants to kitchenware. It’s open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and all proceeds go directly back to the local community.