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FOOD & DRINK

Our Sydney: Here Are Our Readers' Favourite Spots to Visit in Chippendale

This eclectic neighbourhood is brimming with top-notch coffee spots, salons, shops and watering holes.
Flip the switch below and discover Sydney by day or night
By Melanie Colwell
March 25, 2021
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By Melanie Colwell
March 25, 2021
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OUR SYDNEY: HERE ARE OUR READERS' FAVOURITE SPOTS TO VISIT IN CHIPPENDALE

in partnership with

This eclectic neighbourhood is brimming with top-notch coffee spots, salons, shops and watering holes.

Few suburbs have undergone as much of transformation in the past decade as Chippendale. With neighbouring Darlington and Eveleigh, the area has been restyled as one of Sydney's most creative districts. After a place to splash out on a fancy meal? Or, perhaps just a cheap and cheerful feast? What about seeing mind-blowing works by emerging artists or catching a gig? Chippendale has all this to offer and more.

To help you explore the area and uncover some of its hidden gems, we teamed up with City of Sydney to ask Concrete Playground readers what businesses they love to support in Chippendale, Darlington and Eveleigh. Here are some of your top picks.

 Read on to discover some of the most popular picks to visit during the day. Then, flick the switch above and we'll dim the lights to show your favourite things to do once the sun goes down.

  • 6

    Sydney’s consistent blue skies mean we’re often caught off-guard on a rainy day. Concrete Playground reader Cordelia Williamson has a suggestion. “Heading to White Rabbit Gallery on a rainy weekend for some solo art-lovin’ time, then sitting down to dumplings and tea is a vibe,” they told us. Other readers, including @up_anne_away, @teaguese, @meelsonwheels and @trvlrshaun also gave the gallery a mention in our call-out.

    At this free gallery, opened in 2009 by Judith Neilson, you can wander through four floors of Chinese art — all of which has been produced in the 21st century. Then, once you’re done, pop into the teahouse to debrief with your artsy companion over handmade dumplings, biscuits and Chinese tea. The gallery is currently closed to prepare for its upcoming exhibition Lumen, due to open on March 6, 2021.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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  • 5

    If White Rabbit is where you should spend a rainy day, then Carriageworks Farmers Market is where to spend a Saturday morning. CP reader @ally_brown88 loves the super popular market for its “great produce and fresh flowers” and calls it the “perfect start to the day”.

    Grocery shopping is usually a boring chore but here it feels anything but — especially when you’re supporting some of Sydney’s best independent producers slinging fresh organic produce, artisanal bread, single-origin coffee and the aforementioned flowers. Head there every Saturday between 8am–1pm to stock up on brekkie bites from Crumpets by Merna, ghee from Pepe Saya, veggie sausages from Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher, handmade pasta from Pasta Emilia and plenty more.

    Image: Jacquie Manning

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  • 4

    It would be easy to look at Concrete Jungle, in all its rainbow-hued smoothie bowl-, terrazzo table- and indoor plant-filled glory, and think it’s all style and no substance. But this Chippendale cafe, recommended by CP reader @gimmeyourdeetz, is delivering on all counts, serving up hearty and nutritious food in a beautiful setting.

    It aims to use only fresh, local produce, evident in dishes like The Pita Pocket (roasted baby beetroots, heirloom carrots, coconut labneh, coconut fritters and dukkah) and Greenoodles (ocean trout, green miso pesto, noodles, zucchini, snow peas and poached egg).

    The venue is now open at night, too, trading as a bar called Roar. Expect the same produce-driven approach to share-style plates, like crispy brussels sprouts with almond curd and aged beer tartare with nashi pear. They’re served alongside left-of-centre cocktails like the riberry gimlet and the vodka-spiked ginger kombucha.

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  • 3
    UPS Skate Shop

    Skater boys, girls and non-binary folk: you need to know about this independent shop in Central Park Mall. Recommended by Concrete Playground reader Wil Jenkins-Manning, UPS Skate Shop is where to get your hands on some of the best skateboards, sneakers and streetwear in Australia.

    The owners are skaters, of course, so they’re passionate about sourcing and supporting local and international brands, including Vans, Baker, Hoddle, DC Shoe Co and Quasi. They manage to get their hands on plenty of limited-edition releases, too.

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  • 2
    Hatch Espresso

    Walk a few blocks down an inner city street and you’re bound to pass a place to get a cuppa joe. Sydneysiders are certainly not lacking choices for their morning coffee, and that makes it all the more impressive when you stumble upon a small kiosk cafe that has built quite the fanbase. Hatch Espresso is just that. You’ll find it underneath the Mercure, near Central Station, and there may be a line — we’re not kidding about it being popular — but it moves quickly. 

    It serves The Grounds coffee, brekkie burgers, toast and pastries from as early as 6am. It has some mighty tasty (and affordable) Lebanese-style savoury pastries, too, including spinach, cheese and meat pideler. It’s also, according to CP reader @tashsaba, “one of the only spots close to the city for authentic Lebanese manoush”.

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  • 1
    Rumbie & Co

    There is no shortage of hairdressing salons and barbershops in Sydney, but Rumbie & Co sets itself apart. Here, the team, led by Rumbie Mutsiwa, specialises in cutting, treating and styling wavy, curly and afro hair. After finishing her apprenticeship, Mutsiwa opened the salon in 2014 with a mission to help clients “embrace every curl”.

    Unlike traditional salons, Rumbie & Co stylists cuts hair dry to “enhance the natural curl pattern”. After the curls are looking well-defined and the client is happy with the shape, they are then treated to the usual shampoo, blow-dry and style. Rumbie & Co also offers specialty afro styling, including cornrows, dreadlocks and weaves. The usual hairdressing services like colouring and treatments are available, too.

    To help with the upkeep, the salon has its own range of products, including curl gels and silk pillowcases, to take home. Plus, it runs workshops on styling and caring for curly and afro hair on occasion.

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  • 0

    As far as local haunts go, Chippendale may have one of the best in Sneaky Possum, as recommended by Concrete Playground reader Michael David Searle. The Abercrombie Street joint has worn a few hats over the years but, after weathering lockdown, it has recently gone back to basics and is functioning solely as a bar for now.

    Thankfully, the buzzing atmosphere is still present, thanks to the enthusiastic staff, retro arcade games and events, including comedy and karaoke nights. Oh, and it’s dog-friendly, so your four-legged friend can join the fun, too.

    Drinkswise, expect natural wines, local and limited-edition craft beers on tap and top-notch cocktails. Pair your drink of choice with a burger (the cheeseburger with a native-spiced patty is just $12), poke bowl or snacks, including fried chicken tenders and mushroom arancini.

    Images: Katje Ford

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  • 0

    If you ever want a reminder of what Sydney pubs were like before the big guys swooped in and transformed many of them with fancy decor and even fancier menus, you need only visit the New Britannia, recommended by CP reader Bec Foley.

    Sure, some of the pub’s rough edges were sanded away when it relaunched a few years ago. And you will see some modern touches present, like funky skin-contact wines and craft beers. But, thanks to the locally sourced dark timber and dim tavern lighting, it still feels like you’ve entered a piece of history.

    The new owners also kept the venue’s long-running pizza kitchen, now run by Angry Tony’s Pizza. It has quite an extensive menu — there’s even a bacon cheeseburger pie. Dietary requirements are accounted for with ten vegan or vegetarian options, plus gluten-free bases available for $4 and vegan cheese for $2.

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  • 0

    Sydney has so many next-level date night spots, you could easily never repeat a venue, but we’d be happy to make an exception for Ester. Mat Lindsay’s Chippendale restaurant is one you’ll want to return to again and again, thanks to the friendly service, quality natural vino and woodfired-driven menu. It was recommended by CP reader @_mcneillriley.

    You have a few options for how to approach the meal — there are three set menus, plus the choice to dine a la carte between Tuesday and Thursday. Just be prepared to part with some cash — the minimum spend is $105 per person. The menus are in constant flux, driven by what’s in season and will benefit from some woodfired treatment (though, what doesn’t?). Thankfully, the fermented potato bread with kefir cream and dashi jelly ($15) is ever-present.

     

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  • 0

    Recommended by Concrete Playground reader Jarrod Matthews, The Rose Hotel has been a staple of the Chippendale community for well over a century. Based on the corner of City Road and Cleveland Street — and boasting a stellar beer garden —the pub caters to quite a mixed crowd.

    There are 28 craft beers on tap, organic vino, a dedicated gin bar and upmarket pub grub, including a cheese board, vegan pizzas and pan-fried barramundi. And for the large student contingent, there are daily food and drink specials — including $10 pizza on weekday lunches, free pool and trivia nights.

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 0

    We’re all creatures of habit, but it doesn’t hurt to mix things up every so often. The next time you’re keen to mix up your usual drink order without straying too far from tradition, make tracks to Gin Lane. CP reader @ally_brown88 lauded the Kensington Street spot for its “great selection of G&Ts”, and they’re not wrong.

    The bar, which is set in an 18th-century townhouse, boasts over 100 gins from across the world, which can be paired with the tonic of your choice. There are also eight specialty twists on the classic ready to go, like the Winter Prohibition (pomegranate-infused Tanqueray and house-made spiced mulled winter tonic).

    Feeling a little experimental? Other inventive tipples include the Gunpowder Plot (gunpowder tea-spiked gin, fernet, gunpowder syrup, dandelion and burdoch bitters, served in a smoking cloche) and the Smokers Delight (hemp gin, hemp seed-infused Cointreau, toasted hemp agave, pressed citrus and CBD oil).

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  • 0
    Bibimbar

    Bibimbar has been serving up “Korean soul food” since late-2019, having taken over the Abercrombie Street space once occupied by Nighthawk Diner. With its high ceilings, exposed brick walls, polished concrete flooring and sleek leather banquette seating, the space feels fresh and modern. But the menu takes a slightly different approach, focusing on bringing traditional Korean dishes to the forefront that are not typically seen on menus in Australia.

    Already know and love bibimbap and Korean fried chicken? Here’s your opportunity to try soondubu jjigae (spiced seafood stew), kimbap (Korean-style sushi) and, as recommended by CP reader Alison Tanudisastro, tteokbokki (Korean rice cake with fish cakes in a sweet and spicy sauce). Plus, Bibimbar is licensed so you can pair these dishes with wine, beer or a fruity soju cocktail.

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For more small businesses to visit and support in Paddington, check out our Day and Night Guide

Top image: White Rabbit Gallery, Kimberley Low

For more small businesses to visit and support in Paddington, check out our Day and Night Guide

Top image: White Rabbit Gallery, Kimberley Low 

 

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