Newtown in Sydney’s inner west is a culinary and creativity hub. From humble beginnings, Newtown grew with the arrival of the railway in 1855, and there’s been no turning back. Luckily, you can still get here from the city with an easy 10-minute train ride. Or hop on a bike for an easy half hour ride to Newtown.
You’ll find an eclectic mix of charming 19th-century terrace houses, street art, specialty boutiques and family-owned shops, trendy pubs, breweries and small bars and cool cafes. Newtown is home to a dynamic arts and entertainment scene, and talented chefs and diverse restaurants serving up cuisine from every corner of the globe.
Newtown is a great area to get to know. But don’t take our word for it. We’ve asked Sydney locals and businesses to tell us what they love about Newtown. We recently sent a call-out on Facebook and checked out the #SydneyLocal hashtag on Instagram to find the local hotspots.
Newtown by day
Fox and Scout fashion and lifestyle store: Specialising in women’s lifestyle basics and coordinates, accessories and gifts, Fox and Scout draws inspiration from its diverse and creative surroundings.
“We have a fresh approach to fashion showcasing denim, trends, basics and accessories with a classic edge for our modern lifestyle,” store owner Blythe says. It shows in the boutique’s wares, which range from the classic to the quirky.
Wanting Collection – via #SydneyLocal on Instagram.
Just down King Street, for a truly colourful shopping experience, visit Wanting Collection. This boutique, which began in 2013 as a simple sock stall at the Newtown market, now fills its fully-fledged shop with vivid jewellery, handbags, clothing, and more. There’s something here for men and women in all sizes.
Pic: @wantingcollection via Instagram
Glow Girl beauty therapists – recommended by Jen via our online form.
Glow Girl, on Australia Street, also boasts a ‘something for everyone’ approach, this time to spa and beauty treatments. Take a break here for facials, massages, waxing, tanning, lash tinting, and body treatments.
Flour Drum café: “Great food.” – recommended by Michael via Facebook.
For fresh, local, and home-made, you can’t go past the cosy Flour Drum back on King Street. Whether you’re looking for a delicious all-day brekkie, brunch, lunch, or an afternoon pick-me-up, you’ll find it in this sunny, welcoming café.
Pic: @flourdrumnewtown via Instagram
Rising Sun Workshop: “There is nowhere else in Sydney like it! Great coffee, ramen, and katsu burgers for lunch and an excellent and refined dinner menu, all while locals are using the communal workshop space to work on their motorbikes.” – recommended by Naomi via our online form.
On Whateley Street, Rising Sun Workshop combines a café, retail outlet and workshop. This unique business practices a philosophy of collaboration and community. The workshop provides everything bikers need to work on their motorbikes. And this community spirit extends to the tasty café, where buying like-minded and local is at the heart of the menu.
Pic: supplied by Rising Sun Workshop, @rising_sun_workshop
Newtown Record Fair: On the first Saturday of the month, from 11am to 4pm, the Bank Hotel on King Street is host to a pop-up record fair in its beer garden. Erica, the organiser, says “the fair is about building a community of vinyl lovers in the hub of recordland between Egg and Revolve Records.”
Whether you’re a diehard vinyl junkie or a newcomer to the wonders of the rotating record, you’ll discover more than 10,000 vinyl records to set your toes tapping.
Newtown by night
Never a sleepy suburb, Newtown is even livelier by night than it is by day. From King Street to the back streets, you’ll find locals and visitors sipping sundowners, sampling from the spectrum of cuisines, listening to live music, and basking in Newtown’s unique vibe.
Nonna Gio: “Superb Italian cuisine … cooked with love and passion by an Italian family who knows their onions from their shallots.” – recommended by Clifford via our online form.
Nonna Gio’s on King Street is the Newtown go-to for no-nonsense, mouthwatering Italian food. With a menu that’s short, sweet, and dependent on whatever matriarch Rosangela, the cook, has whipped up that day, you may forget for a moment that you’re not in Italy.
The Stinking Bishops: “For all your cheesy needs.” – recommended by Garth via Facebook.
Like hungry mice, cheese lovers are running to this cheese bar and restaurant on Enmore Road, just down the road from the famed Enmore Theatre. With more than 40 cheeses from around the world, The Stinking Bishops lets you create your own cheese boards and pair your fave wedges with a delicious drop from the bar’s broad wine list. Brie-licious!
Clem’s Chicken Shop: “It’s a Newtown institution!” – recommended by Kara via Facebook.
Family-owned Clem’s, on King Street, has been deliciously doing what it does since 1982. This means serving up fresh takeaway tucker daily, including Clem’s signature chicken, hot chips, pastas, bakes, salads, vegetables, and more.
Pic: @spiral2spiral via Instagram
Young Henrys: “Young Henry’s is definitely my favourite local brewery … the big graffiti wall is very Newtown.” – recommended by Yan Kei via our online form (@yan_keiclare on Instagram).
Young Henrys has done its part to help put Sydney’s craft brew scene on the map, and you should likewise drop a pin for its innovative tasting bar on Wilford Street. Open daily for great beer and good cheer, Young Henrys pours the usual suspects from its range, as well as limited-edition beers.
Pic: @jeffersa91 via Instagram
The Cipher Room: “It’s a brilliant adventure every time … a definite must!” – recommended by Bas via our online form.
The escape room phenomenon has taken Sydney by storm, and The Cipher Room has taken advantage of the tempest. Again on King Street, The Cipher Room provides themed locked rooms – full of puzzles, props, and clues – from which you and your team of 2 to 8 must free yourselves within an hour. Owned and operated by Newtown locals, The Cipher Room stands out for its personal touches and its local loyalty – it sources its props from neighbourhood vintage and second-hand shops.