A local's guide to Surry Hills

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 Twitter for the denizens of Surry Hills’ raves and faves. Their top picks follow.

Photo: Katherine Griffiths/City of Sydney

Surry Hills by day

Two Skinny Pickles
1/302-306 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

“I love to stop by here after training in Prince Alfred Park for a brekkie wrap or Buddha bowl and a coffee. The food is healthy, and the coffee is top-notch. And it’s always delivered fast and fresh – even when there’s a queue,” says Kasey on our online form

This busy hole in the wall on a hectic, commuter-heavy corner across from Central station (at Elizabeth and Foveaux streets) received multiple shout-outs from local residents. The menu is simple and quick, featuring a range of sandwiches, fresh salads, pastries, sweets and kombucha on tap.


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Oscar & Friends Booksellers
Shop 35/277 Crown Street, Surry Hills

says Tiffany on 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. Photo: Courtesy of APC Sydney

APC Sydney
2/406-410 Crown Street, Surry Hills

“Beautiful clothes and store design,” says Jeremy on our online form

This fashion (and fashionably minimalist) Crown Street jewel 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.

374 Crown Street, Surry Hills

“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,” says Simon on our online form

Launched in 2002, this ever-dynamic gallery showcases the work of new artists, emerging talents and veteran creatives.

Photo: City of Sydney

Grand Royal Barbers
381 Riley Street, Surry Hills

“For a sneaky peek, where’s better to see men in the nostalgic atmosphere of a bygone era, in repose and on display?” says Jill 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. Photo: Esteban La Tessa, courtesy of RAW Anthony Nader

RAW Anthony Nader
100 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

“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?” says Claire on 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
633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

“Bourke Street Bakery, because… Bourke Street Bakery. Dammit, missing the hood now,” says Kate on 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.

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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.

💝 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

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Vacanza Pizzeria
414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

“Vacanza Pizzeria [is] absolutely the best! (And I’m Italian.)” says Alexia on 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!

333 Crown Street, Surry Hills

 “Great and affordable Vietnamese food on Crown street,” says Tove on 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 banquet menus.

Cafe Lounge. Photo: Jamie Williams/City of Sydney

Cafe Lounge
277 Goulburn Street, Surry Hills

“Cafe Lounge has led the small bar revolution,” says Andrew on Facebook

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 Cafe 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.”

Dove & Olive
156 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills

says Alex on Facebook

In a neighbourhood that loves its watering holes  (and has lots of good ones), for its pub grub and bevvy selection, Dove & Olive is a cut above. Sprawling and comfy over 2 storeys (plus both street-side seating and a balcony for alfresco pubbing), the oft-lively Dove & Olive features a range of craft and Aussie beers (too many to try in one go!). Devour US-themed bar snacks, 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
501 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

says Ben on our online form

If you haven’t gotten your fill of beer, wander over to The Wanderer. 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.

Beat the city traffic and hop on your bike for a ride to Surry Hills. Contact us for your free cycling map.

Photo: Katherine Griffiths/City of Sydney

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