Right now, the former industrial area is having its heyday. Sydney locals return time and time again to check out new art exhibitions, grab a quick meal – or an extravagant one – and to catch up with friends over a coffee or a wine.
We got the lowdown on locals favourite spots in Chippendale and surrounds. Here’s just some of what they had to say. To see the rest, visit our Instagram Story highlights.
Where to go for breakfast, brunch or coffee
“Omg Brickfields has the best brownies and great coffee, too – a perf brunch break snack,” says @guilte on Instagram
The staff at this cosy corner cafe and bakery are so friendly. You’ll feel like you’ve walked into their home and they’ve known you for ages! The croissants are flakier than a snowstorm, and the breads, brownies, tarts and scones are pretty special too. Eat in for some lovely toasts, sandwiches, quiches or other items from the ever-changing menu. Or pick up a cake to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
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“Something For Jess!! The staff treat you like a friend + support local artists & coffee. 100,” says @goodgalbribrie on Instagram
“It’s a great tiny hangout with some great food,” says @aafshakansal on Instagram
Something for Jess (SFJ) has something for you too. From fresh cafe fare in comfy surrounds to an onsite art gallery showcasing local artists. This community-centric spot offers new stuff to eat – and look at – every week. What’s more, SFJ donates 10 per cent of the proceeds from art sales to charity.
“Best breakfast ever,” says @sameer0406 on Instagram
“Cafe Giulia for awesome coffee & great people,” says Veronica on our online form
Part of the fun at this busy cafe is examining the equally busy blackboard menu (give yourself some time). Loaded with sides and options, the bill of fare here lets you choose from an ample range of selections – for example, there are 6 breakfast English muffins. You can also craft your own breakfast. Once a butcher shop, this narrow eatery features go-tos including waffles, omelettes, French toast, smoked salmon dishes and breakfast rolls in the morning and pasta, sandwiches, salads and burgers during the day.
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Where to go from lunch to late night
“Casual cheap eats with friends,” says @jaycar on Instagram
“Cheap options, something for everyone and BYO,” says michelle.lias on Instagram
From roti, rendang and rice paper rolls to dumplings, don, satays and stir-fries, Spice Alley is the definition of spoilt for choice. Crave a trip to an authentic Asian-style hawkers’ market without leaving Sydney? This atmospheric stretch of Kensington Street has your name on it. Choose – it’s not easy! – from Vietnamese, Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese, Thai and Malaysian.
“Delicious food, good service and a Scandinavian vibe!” says @ioannald on Instagram
A more casual complement to chef Clayton Wells’ Automata across the street, A1 Canteen serves inventive breakfast, lunch and dinner options as well as takeaway coffees, sandwiches and pastries. Located on the ground floor of The Old Rum Store, the restaurant is an informal cafe by day and a sophisticated bistro by night. The dinner menu changes regularly, as does the carefully curated wine list.
“Zigi’s wine and cheese bar is my local secret. It’s a great place to go to for a drink after work and just unwind. My husband and I love to go here on our date nights. It’s intimate, and the wine, cheese and food are topnotch,” says Kristina on Facebook
“Hidden on a small street near Broadway, this lovely little bar has plenty of delicious wines to try and about 40 cheeses to match!!! Their beer/wine garden is a lovely place to hang out all year-round!” says Jennifer on our online form
“Zigi’s wine and cheese – a true Chippendale gem. Like all rare and precious things, it’s a little hard to find, but persevere!” says Kym on our online form
Zigi’s is full of character – and characters, including owner Zigi Ozeri himself. Friendly and fun, he’s on hand to make sure you have a delicious and delightful time. And you won’t find your typical tasty on Zigi’s cheese menu. The international list showcases cheeses from soft to hard, cow, sheep and goat and washed rind to white mould. Plus Zigi’s fresh, house-made lavash bread really lets the cheeses shine. Seasonal share plates, more-ish bar snacks and an off-the-beaten-vineyard wine list round out a zesty Zigi’s night.
“Super-cool little venue, great food, excellent drinks, fab place for a party!” says Tamesin on our online form
“It’s quirky, and they make a mean cocktail,” says @joshuaxsteele on Instagram
This atmospheric tucked-away gem features rustic pub grub, cool decor and lots of entertainment. It’s intimate and fun, but not so lively that you can’t hear the conversations you’re here to have with friends. Channel your inner Picasso at one of Knox Street’s weekly Drink and Draw nights, or come for the comedy, performance art, burlesque, spoken-word performances and live music.
“Love it for the pasta, friendly staff and good selection of Italian wines… go-to dish is triangoli,” says @gbab15 on Instagram
Although it’s not strictly a vegetarian restaurant, Kindred offers heaps of seasonal plant-based options. The Kindred kitchen makes lots of its own ingredients onsite, including fresh-baked sourdough, and pasta, fermented veggies, pickles, relishes, mustards, ricotta and gelato. In keeping with the restaurant’s produce-propelled approach, Kindred’s wine list promotes drops from small European and domestic producers and minimal-intervention organic wines.
“Love to dance to the throwback music nights,” says @joshuaxsteele on Instagram
If you like a bar with a beat, you can’t beat Freda’s. This watering hole/creative playground plays host to up-and-coming artists, DJs and musicians. ou might listen to jazz, pop, R&B, disco or party tunes one night and enjoy a theme (think Janet Jackson, Madonna or Cardi B appreciation nights) the next. Order from the well-rounded drinks menu and settle in to the comfortable, shabby-chic warehouse setting that harks back to Chippendale’s industrial roots.
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“A neighbourhood bar with an awesome range of Aussie beers, delish cocktails (best espresso martini in town). Love their burgers and the team is always so friendly and up for a chat. Always a good time when I visit,” says Kate on our online form
“Awesome small bar with big personality & always a great night.,” says @tehsuzelife on Instagram
“The place just has a nice vibe,” says @lytez95 on Instagram
Sneak in to the Sneaky Possum for a night of good food, good drinks and good vibes. Big timber booths, throwback arcade games and pinball machines, and murals as bold as the Possum’s cocktail list set the scene. The staff can also set you up with upmarket pub grub (think share boards, burgers and poke bowls), craft beer and even wine on tap.
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“The best food!” says @lisaxchau on Instagram
Named one of ‘Five Sydney Standouts’ by The New York Times and one of the Diners Club’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants. This trendy restaurant is clearly gaining a global reputation. And it’s well-deserved. Get ready for stellar service and an extravaganza of eclectic and delicious wood-fired dishes. Given its world-class status, you’re better off booking, though Ester always tries to leave a little space for lucky walk-ins.
“Easily one of my fave places in Sydney” says @danthemaneats on Instagram
Once you’ve experienced the degustation menu at this fine-dining restaurant in The Old Clare, you’ll find yourself dreaming about returning. Luckily, the set menus change frequently so you have plenty of reasons to!
“Rooftop bar with pool and views across the city,” says @mchelltanya on Instagram
“They make the best Aperol Spritz, and it’s a great spot to meet before or after dinner on Kensington Street,” says @waltermacristudio on Instagram
The historic Old Clare Hotel works a treat, whether you’re just visiting Sydney or looking for a unique city staycation. This stylish boutique hotel features a rooftop pool, several restaurants, and yes, a classic pub. As if that’s not enough, you also have the culinary playground of Kensington Street just outside your door. There are 62 rooms with interiors in 7 styles. The room designs blend contemporary chic with high ceilings, wood panelling and other heritage flourishes that reflect the building’s historic roots. It’s the perfect base from which to immerse yourself in Chippendale and explore greater Sydney.
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“Great for cheese and with pals on a Saturday afternoon,” says @ryanaubiee on Instagram
Handpicked Cellar Door is a perfect spot to kick off a Kensington Street adventure. A modern warehouse-y space, this urban wine cellar pours a wide variety of varietals from some of the best wine regions around the world. You can enjoy a glass or two of wine, try a wine flight or a guided sampling with knowledgeable staff. You won’t find a full food menu here, but you can match these delightful drops with some pre-dinner charcuterie or a range of decadent cheeses brought in from Surry Hills cheese shop Formaggi Ocello. Plus, you can purchase the wine to take home or to a local BYO restaurant.
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“Great pub with great food and always an amazing mural on the back wall,” says @ninjapincher on Instagram
“Gladdy is fun for catch-up. Good food, good music,” says @rebecca_how on Instagram
Self-described as the “worst house in the best street,” the good old Gladdy doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. This casual pub (think tartan carpet and exposed brick) draws an eclectic mix of patrons and serves pub fare standards and a decadent deep-fried Golden Gaytime for dessert. Congregate over a craft beer in the courtyard and take advantage of the specials – burgers, wings and more offer good value for money.
Where to go for a bit of culture and creativity
“Such a beautiful space with great exhibitions and a lovely tea house,” says @the_crested_pigeon on Instagram
“Always has some thought provoking stuff!” says @lisaxchau on Instagram
Get your fill of contemporary Chinese art here. Home to one of the world’s largest and most celebrated collections, the gallery showcases artworks from 2000 onwards over 4 floors. The building, once a 1940s Rolls Royce service depot, is now a striking work of architectural art in its own right. The collection includes drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, video art and installations from nearly 500 Chinese artists. Only a portion is on show at any one time, with new exhibitions installed twice a year. Tours are available daily. Catch a film at the onsite mini cinema, check out the library and browse the gift shop, or enjoy snacks and teas from China and Taiwan in the tea house.
“Xcape escape rooms are a lot of fun. I went with some friends one day and had a great time with some innovative mind-bending puzzles. We made it out in an hour, but it was great to work together and bond over the puzzles,” says Gordon on our online form
“Xcape was amazing! Very memorable experience made possible by Dave and his team. Completed the course in an hour with some very challenging yet fun problems to solve,” says Alex on our online form
Grab a friend (or as many as 7) and head to Xcape escape rooms for some unique interactive entertainment. Depending on your room of choice, you’ll solve puzzles to execute a daring prison break, escape from a palace, take part in a casino heist or survive a hair-raising haunted house. Xcape’s staff are friendly and helpful. With the rooms’ strong production values and intricate design, you can really immerse yourself in the experience. It can make a one-of-a-kind and brain-boosting option for a work team-building event, hens’ or bucks’ do, or just a fun friends’ night out. Prices vary depending on the complexity of the room and the number of people.
In the neighbourhood?
Check out Pine Street Creative Arts Centre at 64 Pine Street, Chippendale. It’s our dedicated, community-focused arts space developing creative skills and lifelong learning. Specialist tutors and practising artists deliver a dynamic program of high quality arts courses for adults, teens and children.
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