If it’s the newest ‘it’ places to eat, cool watering holes or the funkiest fashion you’re after, this trendsetting suburb has it all. A study in contrasts, Surry Hills successfully combines a youthful, arty vibe with heritage buildings and long-established (and well-deserved) civic pride. The commercial combines with the residential and the chic with the shabby.
To get some true local colour, we recently reached out on Facebook and scoured hashtag #SydneyLocal for the denizens of Surry Hills’ raves and faves. Their top picks follow. Have we missed anything? hashtag your best #SydneyLocal favourites.
Surry Hills by day
Two Skinny Pickles: “Can’t go past Two Skinny Pickles on Elizabeth Street. Best coffee, fantastic food and great service from wonderful staff.” – recommended by Gillian via Facebook.
This hole in the wall across from Central station (at Elizabeth and Foveaux streets) received multiple shout-outs from local residents.
“I love to stop by here after training in Prince Alfred Park for a brekkie wrap or Buddha bowl and a coffee,” local Kasey told us through our online form. “The food is healthy, and the coffee is top-notch. And it’s always delivered fast and fresh – even when there’s a queue.”
Oscar & Friends Booksellers: recommended by Tiffany via Facebook.
Bibliophiles rejoice! There is still a place you can browse and buy physical books. The quintessential corner bookshop, this delightful diversion where Crown and Campbell streets meet has a well-rounded selection and a knowledgeable and helpful staff. Plus, you can take your love of reading and this community to the next level with Oscar & Friends’ First Monday Book Club, which meets at 7pm. Everyone welcome. Oscar & Friends is open 7 days a week.
APC Sydney: “Beautiful clothes and store design.” – recommended by Jeremy via our online form.
This fashion (and fashionably minimalist) jewel on Crown Street is the Sydney outpost for this beloved French brand. The boutique features both men’s and women’s lines, plus great accessories. Give your weekend wardrobe a boost with some of APC’s signature classic raw denim.
blank_space: “A pop-up before that was even a thing. Often one theme in the morning and something else by the end of the day. From exhibitions to vintage clothes, from bespoke furniture to product launches blank_space never fails to deliver change.” – recommended by Simon via our online form.
Launched in 2002, this ever-dynamic Crown Street gallery showcases the work of new artists, emerging talents and veteran creatives.
Grand Royal Barbers: via #SydneyLocal on Instagram.
For great grooming, go grand. Who doesn’t love a good scalp massage, especially when it’s free? At Grand Royal Barbers, that’s just part of the deal. The Surry Hills salon of Steve Salecich and Maria Dillon takes its name, according to Dillon, from Salecich’s early obsession with the Beastie Boys. The band’s vanity record label was Grand Royal. Get your complimentary kneading, and a hot towel to boot, with any service. Offerings include clipper cuts, face or head shaves, express facials, beard design and trimming.
RAW Anthony Nader: “RAW Anthony Nader gives great hair! You can choose the experience level of the stylist according to your budget. They whisk you away to a separate ‘zen’ room with dim lighting and tranquil music for the washing. Did I mention they serve bubbles and Pukka tea?” – recommended by Claire via Facebook.
Get the celebrity treatment at this multi-award winning flagship salon, a Surry Hills staple since 1997. Now comfortably at home on Commonwealth Street, the salon will show your locks some love, manage your mane, and pamper your person.
Bourke Street Bakery: “Bourke Street Bakery, because… Bourke Street Bakery. Dammit, missing the hood now.” – recommended by Kate via Facebook.
Where the Bourke Street Bakery phenomenon began. On a humble corner of Bourke and Devonshire streets, this scrumptious-smelling neighbourhood shopfront has been selling its sweet and savoury treats since 2004. The bake shop takes pride in bakin’ it old-school: handmade using fresh ingredients and hard work. The bakery’s menu is bountiful: choose (easier said than done) from breads and buns, danish pastries, muffins, flaky croissants, pain au chocolat, tarts, pies, sammies and salads. It’s easy to see why the Bourke Street bakers’ passion and popularity has paid off. Bourke Street Bakery now operates 10 additional bakeries throughout Sydney.
Surry Hills by night
With its vibrant stage and screen scene, popular bars and pubs, and renowned restaurants, Surry Hills boasts never-a-dull-moment night-life. Have you checked out Belvoir Street Theatre for plays or Golden Age Cinema & Bar for classic and current flicks? Be sure to stick around once the sun goes down.
Café Lounge – via #SydneyLocal on Instagram.
Want a side of laughter with your meal? This small bar and restaurant is Surry Hills’ go-to venue for comedy, storytelling, burlesque and more. Enjoy something a bit different with every visit, such as The Comedy Burlesque Hour and A Likely Story.
“The Comedy Burlesque Hour is less of a traditional sultry burlesque and more a kooky show featuring the wild and wonderful – yet always funny – burlesque performers in Sydney,” says the Café Lounge’s Louis Westgarth. “It’s hosted by Hannie [Raegan], an actor and winner of Burlesque Idol Australia.” For A Likely Story, see storytellers take to the stage. “There’s a theme for each night,” says Westgarth. “Stories are always funny, so you’ll end up laughing, not crying, at this show.”
Vacanza Pizzeria: “Vacanza Pizzeria [is] absolutely the best! (And I’m Italian.)” – recommended by Alexia via Facebook.
This cosy corner pizza joint at Bourke and Fitzroy streets is, quite simply, authentic, delicious and fun. The staff is friendly and effusive, like those Italian rellies you have (or wish you had!) and they know their pizza. You should get to know their pizza, too. Try Il Capitano, a mouth-watering combo of fresh tomatoes, Italian fior di latte (a semi-soft cheese similar in style to mozzarella), truffle oil, goat’s cheese, mushrooms, and Italian pork and fennel sausage. Oh captain, my captain!
💝 MUST ORDER 💝 IL PIZZAOLO DIAVOLA @vacanzapizzeria this pizza will certainly warm you up, Bel loved all the hot n spicy flavours and that chewy pizza base!!! 🍕🍕🍕 💚 $22.90 IL PIZZAOLO DIAVOLA San Marzano Tomatoes, Italian Fior Di Latte, Borgo Antica Sopressa, Fresh Chilli & Kalamata Olives . 🍳 @ausomekitchen our cooking creation insta collection 🎬 Click on our BIO follow & watch our Youtube Eating Adventures > > > > > #vacanzapizzeria #surryhillseats #sydneypizza #pizzaporn #pizza #waterloo #redferneats #waterlooeats #bbqaus #bbqlife #yummy #nyceats #londonfood #londonfoodie #hkfood #sgfood #melbournefoodie #hkfoodie #sgfoodie #sydneygram #sydneyfood #sydneyeats #sydneyfoodie #sydneyfoodies #sydneyfoodblogger #手機食先 #相機食先 #好吃 #おいしい#맛있는
Xage: “Great and affordable Vietnamese food on Crown street.” – recommended by Tove via Facebook.
With a modern take on the traditional cuisine of southern and central Vietnam, Xage believes good food is all about balance: of spices, of flavours, of choices. And the restaurant (and chef Minh Nguyen) succeeds. There’s something to please all palates and dietary requirements, with homestyle dishes, chargrill plates, wok-fries, heaps of salad options and rice-based dishes. To settle in for a freshness feast among friends, opt for one of Xage’s three banquet menus: Xage Samplers, Xage Greatest Hits, or the Happy Veggie for the vego set.
Dove & Olive – recommended by Alex via Facebook.
In a neighbourhood that loves its watering holes (and boasts lots of good ones), for its pub grub and bevvy selection, Devonshire Street’s Dove & Olive is a cut above. Sprawling and comfy over 2 storeys (plus both street-side seating and a balcony for al fresco pubbing), the oft-lively Dove & Olive features a wide range of craft and Aussie beers (too many to try in one go!). Devour US-themed bar nibbles, including American-style chicken wings, mac ‘n’ cheese spring rolls, nachos and jalapeno poppers. And for a Sunday roast or full-on proper pub meal? You’ll love the Dove.
The Wanderer – recommended by Ben via our online form.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of beer, wander over to The Wanderer on Elizabeth Street. With an ever-changing roster of lagers, ales, stouts and more, you’ll find a beer to cheer about. If beer’s on the backburner for you, don’t fear. The Wanderer features wine, all the latest cocktails (Aperol spritz, anyone?) and tasty tidbits. Whatever you drink or eat, it’s game on at The Wanderer, where games, from homemade shuffleboard and darts to Jenga (in various sizes) and Nintendo 64 are part of the fun.