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Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Darlinghurst

Day or night, you can shop for preloved clothes, paperbacks and pork crackling, right here on Oxford Street.
By Tamar Cranswick
August 07, 2020
By Tamar Cranswick
August 07, 2020


in partnership with

Day or night, you can shop for preloved clothes, paperbacks and pork crackling, right here on Oxford Street.

Darlinghurst is the beating heart of the inner city, bursting with things to see and do. Head to its spiritual home of Oxford Street, lined with an eclectic mix of restaurants, clubs and shops, to explore the best of the independent retailers that call this suburb home.

With so much to see and do in the area it can be tricky to know where to start, so we've teamed up with American Express to bring you this definitive guide to Darlo's local gems. From the choicest places to kit out your wardrobe to a chic neighbourhood wine bar, here's where you can shop small with your Amex Card.

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    Ariel Booksellers

    There’s nothing quite like the tranquillity of stepping inside a bookshop and Ariel Booksellers is one of the best. Found among late-night venues and takeaway joints on Oxford Street, Ariel is an oasis of calm. The shop is not big on floor space but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in substance. Pick up the latest novels, browse the art and design section, or nab a last-minute gift for someone special. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the shelf, the staff here is more than happy to order it in for you.

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    Above The Clouds Store

    This retailer rewards those who find it, secreted away on Crown Street, with quality streetwear and amiable service. Everything in Above the Clouds is carefully curated, with an emphasis on coveted brands. Local designers like Sydney’s Pseushi and Melbourne’s Butter Goods sit alongside international labels such as Casablanca, Dickies and Soulland. There’s eyewear from Monokel and fragrances from the cult Swedish brand, 19-69. The sneaker game is also strong here; you’ll find Adidas Originals, Nike, New Balance, Converse and more fresh kicks to walk away in.

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    This classy neighbourhood food and wine bar will take you from a midweek date night through to a weekend get together with pals with ease. Occupying the corner position on Victoria and Liverpool Streets, the space is modern and bright. You can perch at the bar and make your way through the impressive wine list while pausing to snack or sit by the window — a prime lookout point for a bit of Darlo people watching. Eliza comes with an impressive pedigree; head chef Jeremy Bentley was previously at the helm of The Devonshire, via London’s Michelin starred The Square. Expect produce driven, contemporary fare designed to share.

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    There is nothing in this world quite like the shattering crunch of great pork crackling and the team at Mr Crackles is well and truly in on the game. As the name suggests, pork is the star of the show here — it comes bunged in a soft bun with gravy, served with Vietnamese-style slaw in a baguette or with roast veggies in a salad. You can also drop the pretence and indulge in a whole sheet of crackling served straight up. There are non-porcine options, too, like chicken katsu, roasted lamb and hot dogs topped with, you guessed it, crackling. The Oxford Street location means Mr Crackles is also the perfect late-night indulgence after a drink or two. On weekends, it stays open long after the neighbouring bars have called last drinks.

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    In a city saturated with vintage clothing stores, Fabrique Vintage is a cut above the rest. All of the stock here is hand selected and you can expect to find a huge range of items from Europe and the US when you step into this Oxford Street emporium. It’s packed to the brim with great finds. Denim dominates, with jeans, shorts, overalls and jackets lining the walls. There’s also a strong Americana vibe: think cowboy boots, belt buckles and kerchiefs. Like with all good vintage stores, unearthing the treasures here takes some dedication — but half the fun comes from what you find along the way.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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    Zink & Sons Tailors & Shirtmakers Sydney

    The difference between a finely tailored suit and the off-the-rack variety is like chalk and cheese. Zink & Sons is a boutique for the discerning customer who knows their coattails from their cufflinks. The tailoring business, set in a gorgeous art deco building on Oxford Street, has operated for six generations — since 1895 in fact — and it has seen many changes in the area over the years. Its longevity comes down to the quality of its bespoke suits and shirts, made for both businesswear and special occasions. A custom-fitted suit can make the wearer feel like a king and that’s exactly how you’ll be treated at this Darlinghurst institution from the moment you enter.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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    There are sandwiches and then there are those from South Dowling Sandwiches. This bustling South Dowling Street shop elevates the humble sanga to the next level. Sandwiches are made to order, stacked high with the best ingredients and layered between your choice of bread. For those who prefer to go carb-light, you can ditch the bread and opt for a hearty salad instead (though portions are just as filling). Catering is also available for office functions and corporate events. After 15 years in the business, these guys know which way the bread is buttered and the slew of celebrity endorsements on Instagram is testament to that.

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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: Fabrique Vintage by Cassandra Hannagan

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