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FOOD & DRINK

Ten Essential Spots to Visit in Newtown

From a crowd-funded cafe serving up piping hot breakfast ramen to an ethically-minded clothes shop.
By Erina Starkey
May 06, 2019
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Ten Essential Spots to Visit in Newtown

From a crowd-funded cafe serving up piping hot breakfast ramen to an ethically-minded clothes shop.
By Erina Starkey
May 06, 2019
  shares

TEN ESSENTIAL SPOTS TO VISIT IN NEWTOWN

in partnership with

From a crowd-funded cafe serving up piping hot breakfast ramen to an ethically-minded clothes shop.

The inner west suburb of Newtown may be hipster heaven, but underneath those skinny jeans and almond milk lattes lies a grungy urban core. No need for a walking tour — simply make your way down King Street. You'll pass an eclectic mix of boutiques, colourful local characters and vibrant street art, which turn the grand Victorian facades into a living, breathing gallery. Combine that with trend-setting eateries, good times pubs and funky small bars and it's no wonder that this is the suburb where everyone wants to be.

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    This crowd-funded cafe and motorcycle garage in the centre of Newtown has fast become the place to refuel. Downstairs, you’ll find people tinkering on their bikes in the workshop, while upstairs, the gentle clatters are caused by cutlery, as diners tuck into Japanese-inspired breakfasts and sip Single O coffees. You won’t find a better start to the day than the breakfast ramen — a rich buttery bone broth filled with bacon, egg and grilled tomato. And if you’re recovering from a big night out, say good morning to a bloody mary, spiked with vodka, sriracha and nori. It also makes the best chocolate chip cookies in town. Okay, just one more before the ride home.

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  • 9

    You could easily give yourself a caffeine headache trying to work out which Newtown cafe serves the best coffee. To save you the hassle, head straight to Handcraft Specialty Coffee, an unassuming espresso bar with a four-page coffee menu. For white coffees, it uses its own house blend, made by Melbourne roaster Proud Mary. And for black coffees, there are 12 options to choose from depending on whether you prefer biscuity shortbread notes, orange blossom, lemonade or dried figs. The all-day brunch menu manages to keep the pace with cheesy toasties and freshly baked baguettes.

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  • 8

    Part house party, part bar, it always feels like happy hour at this raucously fun pub set in Newtown’s backstreets. You’ll meet some interesting characters in the bar line — from students and suits to creative types and Swans fans — and have some pretty kooky conversations, too. Once you’ve got your pint of Young Henrys, head out back to the oversized beer garden. It might look full but there’s always room for one more (plus your dog). For lunch, the bistro menu serves up refined pub classics, including parmis, schnitties, bangers and chops, as well as a surprising selection of meatless meals.

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  • 7

    There aren’t too many places in the world where a vegan pizzeria would fly (and result in lines out the door on the regular) but Newtown just happens to be one of them. Three years after Gigi’s made the controversial decision to ditch the meat and dairy, it’s doing better than ever. In fact, even the carnivores want a slice of the action. Rather than rely on mock meats like facon and pepperphony, it has instead opted for some very extra toppings, from kipfler potato and black truffle pâté to artichokes, pine nuts and currants. For the purists, you can’t beat the classic margherita, which is made the true Neapolitan way.

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  • 6

    Not much wider than its namesake, this beloved small bar has been squeezed into the north end of King Street. And what it lacks in width, it makes up for in height. The tiny terrace features plenty of nooks and crannies for you to settle into, all dressed in the very best vintage and street furniture. Take the rickety staircase all the way to the top and you’ll be rewarded with a sun-drenched rooftop — the perfect spot for sipping obscenely good cocktails made from Corridor’s house-infused syrups, spirits and cordials. It also sells local craft beers and quaffable drops at a very reasonable price. Plus, there’s a top-notch happy hour available every weekday from 5–7pm.

    Image:  Trent van der Jagt.

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  • 5

    Eating from a can has never been a particularly glamorous thing to do — until Continental Deli came to town. This little deli bar on Australia Street serves up delicious things from tins, including smoked anchovies, razor clams from Galicia and slow-cooked Spanish sardines. It also sells boards and platters piled with cured meats and oozy European cheeses, as well as sandwiches filled with thin slices of mortadella or leg ham. And you won’t just be eating from tins here, you’ll be sipping too from the Continental crew’s selection of tinned cocktails like the Mar-tinny, Can-hattan and Cosmopoli-tin, which are all batched and tinned on site.

    Image: Kimberley Low.

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  • 4

    If you’re looking for prints to wear proudly, head down to The Social Outfit. The ethically minded fashion label designs and makes its own one-of-a-kind clothing — talk about limited edition. The beautiful garments, which are known for their bright colours and bold patterns, are made from offcuts and extras from big designers in the fashion industry. And if that doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy like an ethically made jumper, then perhaps this will: all of the profits are donated back into the community to secure training and employment opportunities for refugees and migrants.

    Image: Luisa Brimble.

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  • 3

    This new generation bottle shop swaps out the mainstream names for craft labels, from natural wines through to sparkling pet nats, wild yeast beers and artisanal spirits. Set aside a good hour to pore over the offerings — trust us, you’ll want to read every label in the shop. Swing by between 6–8pm and, what a coincidence, you’ll be just in time for the daily wine tasting sessions. Otherwise, book into one of its masterclasses, where you can absorb equal amounts of information and alcohol. These monthly tasting sessions are held by wine writer and P&V co-founder Mike Bennie and other prominent wine buffs.

    Image: The James Adams.

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  • 2

    Even when it’s not holding the biggest event of the year, Newtown Festival, Camperdown Memorial Rest Park remains a hugely popular spot for casual local gatherings. Just a street behind the main drag, the sprawling green space is home to a gothic cemetery, a fenced children’s play area and a timed off-leash dog zone, where your doggo can run free between 5pm–9am. BYO pup or just turn up with a tennis ball and make some new friends. There are also plenty of grassed areas for spreading out a blanket and sharing a couple of cronuts from Brewtown down the road.

    Image: Kimberley Low.

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  • 1

    Beloved live music venue The Vanguard has returned for an encore after a three-year hiatus as Leadbelly. Just like the good old days, the venue’s program mostly consists of jazz, roots and blues, with the odd country, rock, pop and burlesque show thrown in for good measure. In its glory days, the New Orleans-inspired venue attracted some industry greats, including Elvis Costello, Diesel, The Whitlams and Missy Higgins. Here’s hoping there’ll be many more big names to follow. Depending on the night, you can just swing by for cocktails at the bar or settle in with dinner and a show.

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Top image: Destination NSW.

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