Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Surry Hills

From French cheese to high-end fashion, you can find it all along Crown and Bourke Streets.
Emma Jukić
Published on August 03, 2020

Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Surry Hills

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From French cheese to high-end fashion, you can find it all along Crown and Bourke Streets.

There's something special about wandering the streets of Surry Hills. Long one of Sydney's cultural hubs, the suburb boasts a vibrant collection of small businesses that have basically everything you could need and/or want, from expensive Scandinavian shirts to designer furniture and French cheeses.

But with so many places to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we've teamed up with American Express to put together a list of places that always champion local designers and artisans — and you can shop small here with your Amex Card. With this, you can navigate Bourke and Crown Streets with all the intel of a local.

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    A lazy bookshop visit is always high on our agenda, and Oscar and Friends has shelves upon shelves of novels, cookbooks, coffee table books and non-fiction pieces. That feeling when you can’t quite decide on a read for the weekend? Doesn’t exist. The expert booksellers are always ready with a suggestion. If you’re feeling a little shy, the shop also has helpfully highlighted recommendations along the shelves so you can browse peacefully, lost in your own world. Get yourself in deeper and register for the store’s book club on the first Monday of each month at 7pm.

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    If you love cheese, Formaggi Ocello won’t leave you disappointed. It has a whopping selection of more than 200 cheeses, from well-loved French classics to lesser-known imports, as well as an impressive stock of cured meats, cheese equipment, truffle products, condiments and other deli delights. Fellow gourmands are invited to join monthly in-store cheese and wine nights, where owners Sogna and Carmelo Ocello pull out six farmhouse cheeses with matching wines. If you’d rather just pop in for a wine, you can do that, too — aperitivo hour runs daily from 4pm and you get a free cheese tasting plate when you buy a glass of wine.

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    Title Store

    Not quite done with books? Title isn’t far away. Head back down Crown Street towards Cleveland and you’ll find this Surry Hills browsing oasis. Title’s selection of books spans fiction, fashion, graphic novels, photography, poetry and travel, as well as an impressive selection of CDs, vinyl and DVDs. If you’re looking for some new hi-fi equipment, there’s also a range of amplifiers, speakers, turntables and headphones to browse. Our recommendation? Nestle into quiet corners and browse through some of its beautiful art and photography books.

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    From New York’s Rachel Comey to London’s You Must Create, Denmark’s Henrik Vibskov to Greece’s Esiot and Paris’s Cuisse de Grenouille, The Standard Store is the place to find international brands in Sydney. Its carefully curated and constantly evolving selection of high-end clothes, shoes, accessories and homewares is always a pleasure to browse — if only to get a good idea of what’s happening in fashion and design around the world. Run by Sydney-based Nicola and Orlando Reindorf, the store also hosts small pop-up events from time to time, so it’s worth keeping an eye on its Facebook page for workshops and talks.

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    If you’re doing all that browsing, you’ll need a coffee. Down towards Central Station, you’ll find Single O serving all kinds of coffees, from espresso to pourover and even self-serve filter on-tap. As well as immediate caffeination, you can also buy stuff for your home. Get a freshly roasted bag of coffee beans to take home with you, or maybe an Aeropress or some new filters.

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    Did you know Surry Hills is home to Sydney’s very own rum distillery? Rum, made from cane sugar, used to be made at the old Pyrmont CSR factory until the 80s, but wasn’t being made in the inner city until Brix opened its distillery right on Bourke Street. Co-founders and old friends James Christopher, Damien Barrow and Siddharth Soin serve their own brews and educate people about rum and its origins. Whether you have it neat, in a cocktail or take a bottle home with you, this should be your number one booze stop in Surry Hills.

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    Published Art is one of Sydney’s most specialised (and under-the-radar) art bookshops. Its shelves are stocked with the latest titles in design, architecture, art, fashion, typography and photography, as well as a selection of art and design-related children’s books. Only the latest titles are kept in stock, so it’s worth popping your head in regularly to check out any new arrivals. These guys are serious booksellers — they also run a library supply service. If you’re looking for a hard-to-find publication, ask the team — chances are they’ll be able to track it down.

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Support the places you love and shop small at the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express, its Shop Small initiative and current Shop Small offer, which ends on August 31, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots around the inner city.

Top image: Cassandra Hannagan

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