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By Chloe Sargeant
September 12, 2019
By Chloe Sargeant
September 12, 2019

Darlinghurst has a storied history, and this has carried through to create the vibrant and lively melting pot that it is today.

There’s no end to the things to see and do in Darlo by day. Start by visiting one of the hole-in-the-wall coffee spots, then spend time hopping between the eclectic collection of museums, independent galleries and boutique shops.

Flick the switch above, and we’ll dim the lights to show you the best things to do once the sun goes down. You can also explore more inner-city suburbs here.

Darlinghurst has a storied history, and this has carried through to create the vibrant and lively melting pot that it is today.

When nighttime hits, Darlo really comes alive. You can start your evening with a good feed and a glass of boutique vino, then really turn the volume up and catch a wildly entertaining drag show on Oxford Street or a play at one of the independent theatres.

Flick the switch above, and we’ll turn on the lights to show you the best things to do pre-6pm. You can also explore more inner-city suburbs here.


The tall stone wall on Darlinghurst Road near Green Park, which hides the Darlinghurst Courthouse and National Art School, is the original eastern wall of the old Darlinghurst Gaol. If you get up close enough, you can still see the markings that the prisoners scratched into the sandstone.


There are plenty of buses from Town Hall or Central Station — or you could pop on the T4 train to Kings Cross and enjoy a leisurely stroll down to the cafes, restaurants and pubs. Darlinghurst is a walker’s dream — with stunning architecture, parks and people-watching opportunities to encounter.


Start your day with a coffee and a Blessed Morning Bowl at Fable Coffee, then slowly meander up and down Darlo’s captivating streets, exploring all the glorious shopping from local sites like Blue Spinach and The Bookshop. Once you’ve worked up a hunger, grab some delicious pastries from Infinity Bakery and have a picnic in historic Green Park.


Fill the glittering daytime shoes of a Darlo local with a leisurely (and boozy, if you like) brunch at Son of Frank, then head towards Oxford Street to experience the local products on offer at the markets in Taylor Square. Pop your head into Pearsons School of Floristry to gaze in wonder at the breathtaking artistry, then wander to East Village Hotel and enjoy a well-earned craft beer or wine on the leafy rooftop.


In the 70s and 80s, the very same tall sandstone wall of the old Darlinghurst Gaol, along with Green Park on the other side of the road, became one the hottest gay beats in Sydney. To this day, they are both heralded as iconic LGBTQI+ Sydney landmarks.


There are plenty of buses from Town Hall or Central Station — or you could pop on the T4 train to Kings Cross and enjoy a leisurely stroll down to the cafes, restaurants and pubs. Darlinghurst is a walker’s dream — with stunning architecture, parks and people-watching opportunities to encounter. Take note, most trains stop running from Central around midnight or 1am.


Before dinner, a one-of-a-kind cocktail at speakeasy-style bar Eau de Vie is a no-brainer. Then, enjoy an expansive Italian banquet and negronis on tap at Taylor Square’s Casoni. Theatre fiends will be spoiled for options at playhouses like Darlinghurst or Griffin theatres, but there’s nothing more fundamentally Darlinghurst than seeing one of the deliriously entertaining live shows at Stonewall Hotel or Universal.


Local gem Chaco Bar serves up some of Sydney’s best ramen, while go-to Darlinghurst favourites like cheap and friendly Sushi on Stanley and cheese wheel gurus Buffalo Dining Club will see your stomach beyond contented. Afterwards, enjoy expertly made whisky cocktails at Shady Pines or some extraordinarily unique vino at Love, Tilly Devine. Or if you’re looking for a slightly louder night, exuberant live music venues like Brighton Up Bar or Oxford Art Factory will be your havens.

How to do Darlinghurst

Do as the locals do.


Darlo is peppered with hole-in-the-wall cafes — you'll find tasty French pastries at one, experimental Japanese sandos at another and top-notch coffee at all.

1. Sandoitchi Cafe

Single O coffee and untraditional, tasty katsu sandos in Darlinghurst.

2. Bloody Mary's

Darlinghurst's new Hamptons-inspired joint making some of the most hectic Bloody Marys in Sydney.

3. Infinity Bakery Darlinghurst

Pioneers in Sydney's organic sourdough scene — and still hard to beat.

4. Fable Coffee

A charming local favourite with a determined focus on locally sourced produce.

5. Son of Frank

An experimental Italian cafe with a bottomless brunch that can't be beat.

Restaurants and Pubs

Award-winning Sri Lankan hoppers, hummus bowls and epic Indian banquets — lunch around here is both crazy affordable and incredibly diverse.

1. Simply Hummus Bar

A hole-in-the-wall serving up Israeli hummus in Darlinghurst.

2. East Village Hotel

The three-tiered Darlinghurst pub gets new life with an upstairs sports bar and rooftop terrace.

3. Brick Lane

Contemporary Indian fare and some of the best meal deals you'll find in Sydney.

4. Sushi on Stanley

This well-priced Japanese joint has stood the test of time.

5. Lankan Filling Station

O Tama Carey's Sri Lankan hopper eatery.


Darlo is abuzz with specialty stores. Here, you'll find everything from secondhand designer fashion to passionately crafted homewares.

1. Kakawa Chocolates

The pinnacle of chocolate in Sydney, Kakawa always has something new and glossy in store.

2. Studio Enti

Ceramicist Naomi Taplin is embracing sustainability with a classic design aesthetic.

3. Blue Spinach

Ever wondered what that big ol' blue building is on Liverpool Street?

4. Alfie's Friend Rolfe

This gem of a boutique has been styling the Darlo crowd with local labels for years.

5. The Bookshop Darlinghurst

Oxford Street's one-stop bookshop for all things queer.

Arts and Culture

See some of the area's creative side and discover works from both established and emerging artists. Here's where to start.

1. The Artery Aboriginal Art

Browse contemporary Indigenous art.

2. Australian Centre For Photography

One of Australia's longest-running organisations devoted to photography.

3. Sydney Jewish Museum

Explore exhibitions related to Jewish history and customs, the Holocaust and human rights issues.

4. Australian Design Centre

A contemporary art and design space supporting local artists via exhibitions, workshops and a store.

5. National Art School Gallery

Set within the old Darlinghurst gaol, this free gallery displays works from established artists and students.


Finding ways to spend your downtime in Darlo isn't hard — you can pick up a new skill, new look or new furry friend.

1. Green Park

A spot of inner city nature rich with history.

2. Pearsons School of Floristry

A bloomin' lovely spot selling stunning floral arrangements — and teaching you to make your own.

3. Sydney Sustainable Markets

A simple community market to combat the urban jungle of Sydney's inner city.

4. Old Sport Barber

This charming barbershop is all about the finest fades and the friendliest service.

5. Cork and Canvas Darlinghurst

Bring your own liquid inspiration to this sip and paint studio.

Locals Love

We asked, you answered. These are the spots you love to frequent — from monster sandwiches to lush rooftop bars.

1. bills

A Sydney institution that never gets old.

2. RivaReno

The Bologna-based gelato chain lands on Crown Street.

3. South Dowling Sandwiches

Where locals can lunch every day and never get bored (or go broke).

4. Slims Rooftop

A cactus-filled rooftop bar offering stunning city skyline views and tasty Japanese fare.

5. Bootsdarling

Darlinghurst's lovely little cafe on the corner.

How to do Darlinghurst

Do as the locals do.

Restaurants and Pubs

You'll find many the institution in this area from no-frills, family-run joints to revived local favourites.

1. Dimitri's Pizzeria

The beloved inner-city pizza joint has huge new digs on Oxford Street — and the pizza is the best it has ever been.

2. Bar Reggio

This long-running Italian restaurant has all the right ingredients for your next group get-togethers.

3. The Taphouse

A three-level Darlo pub known for its many beers and A-plus Sunday roast.

4. Wings and Tins

Buffalo wings and cans reign supreme at this Darlinghurst bar.

5. Gaku Robata Grill

A ramen joint by day, an innovative izakaya by night.


Killer happy hour specials, experimental cocktails and extravagant fit-outs — a night here is quite the experience.

1. Black Bottle

A Darlinghurst neighbourhood bar with a food cabinet of bar snacks and one of the most reasonably-priced wine lists we've seen in Sydney.

2. Gorgeous George Bar

Darlinghurst's extravagant new bar is named after a famously OTT 1950s wrestler.

3. Eau de Vie

While not technically a speakeasy, this cocktail bar is about as close as you can get to the guilty pleasures of Boardwalk Empire.

4. Big Poppa's

Oxford Street's late-night cheese, wine and hip hop bar.

5. The Long Goodbye

Darlinghurst's film noir-inspired cocktail bar.

Live Music

From legendary gay bars to an institution inspired by Warhol's Factory, these are the spots to catch a show (or three).

1. Oxford Art Factory

Inspired by Warhol’s Factory in New York, this multi-room music venue caters to top international and local talent.

2. Stonewall Hotel

Party till the wee hours in this three-storey hip and happening bar.

3. Low302

Darlo bar hoppers may not be starved for their pick of small bars, but Low’s got a little something the others don’t.

4. Universal Sydney

Darlinghurst's legendary gay bar Midnight Shift has been resurrected.

5. Brighton Up Bar

One of Sydney's most adored live music venues.


Spent all day shopping and didn't find what you're looking for? These spots stay open late so you can continue the search for that rare film, album or book.

1. Ariel Booksellers

Visit one of Sydney's oldest booksellers right in the thick of it on Oxford Street.

2. Film Club

Yep, a DVD rental store in the era of streaming — and local film buffs love it.

3. Stone Heart

A professional body art studio just a stone's throw from Hyde Park.

4. Footage

An immaculately curated boutique that's been delighting the visual senses of eastern suburbanites for more than a decade.

5. The Record Store

A truly awe-inspiring collection of vinyl.

Arts and Culture

Turn a corner in Darlinghurst and you'll stumble across a space dedicated to supporting experimental independent theatre and local creatives.

1. Darlinghurst Theatre Company

At home in a heritage-listed building, the company aims to collaborate and support artists' visions.

2. Griffin Theatre Company

A cosy theatre that's been putting Australian stories onstage for nearly 40 years.

3. Govindas Cinema and Restaurant

This spot turns the 'dinner and a movie' into a very affordable package deal.

4. The Distillery

A printing and design studio with the most incredible stationery, invitations, plus after-dark classes.

5. East Sydney Community and Arts Centre

The refreshed community space in Darlinghurst's creative hub is sustainable and accessible.

Locals Love

We asked, you answered. Here are your favourite haunts for when the sun goes down and the streets of Darlinghurst come alive.

1. Love, Tilly Devine

One of Sydney's first small bars, this Darlinghurst wine bar never gets old.

2. Chaco Bar

All ramen, all the time.

3. Buffalo Dining Club

A little piece of Campania (a region in southern Italy) dropped into the backstreets of Darlinghurst.

4. Casoni

Fresh pasta plus Aperol spritzes and negronis on tap equal Casoni's formula for a good night.

5. Shady Pines Saloon

The Darlinghurst original that spawned an empire.

Find Your Way Through Darlinghurst

Track down the must-visit local haunts.


CP's Picks

Some of our favourites from around the suburb.

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