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A DAY AND NIGHT GUIDE
DARLINGHURST
Flip the switch below and discover Sydney by day or night
By Concrete Playground
November 11, 2020
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By Concrete Playground
November 11, 2020
  shares

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

In partnership with City of Sydney, we’re celebrating what makes Darlinghurst such a vibrant community to live in and visit: its local businesses. It’s been a tough year, and these bars, restaurants, shops and cultural spaces need your patronage more than ever. It’s time to hit the streets, spend consciously, and throw your support behind these local gems.

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 and discover more local businesses to support here.

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

In partnership with City of Sydney, we’re celebrating what makes Darlinghurst such a vibrant community to live in and visit: its local businesses. It’s been a tough year, and these bars, restaurants, shops and cultural spaces need your patronage more than ever. It’s time to hit the streets, spend consciously, and throw your support behind these local gems.

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 and discover more local businesses to support here.

DID YOU KNOW

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.

GETTING AROUND

There are plenty of buses from Town Hall or Central Station — or you could hop 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.

DON’T MISS

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.

LOCALS LOVE

Start 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.

DID YOU KNOW

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 LGBTQIA+ Sydney landmarks.

GETTING AROUND

There are plenty of buses from Town Hall or Central Station — or you could hop 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.

DON’T MISS

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. And there’s nothing more fundamentally Darlinghurst than seeing one of the deliriously entertaining live shows at Stonewall Hotel or Universal.

LOCALS LOVE

Local gem Chaco Bar serves up some of Sydney’s best ramen, while 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.

Cafes

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. Infinity Bakery Darlinghurst

A pioneer of Sydney's organic sourdough scene, Infinity's still hard to beat.

3. Fable Coffee

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

4. Son of Frank

This experimental Italian cafe's bottomless brunch can't be beat.

5. South Dowling Sandwiches

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

Restaurants

Next-level-spicy chicken wings, hummus bowls and epic Indian banquets — lunch around here is both crazy affordable and incredibly diverse.

1. Brick Lane

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

2. Simply Hummus Bar

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

3. Bar Reggio

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

4. The Mayflower

This millennial pink Darlinghurst cafe takes your regular brunch up a notch with caviar and truffle.

5. Wings and Tins

Buffalo wings and cans reign supreme at this Darlinghurst bar.

Shops

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

1. Blue Spinach

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

2. The Record Store

Find a truly awe-inspiring collection of vinyl at this Crown Street spot.

3. Gelato Messina

The OG store that spawned a nationwide gelateria empire.

4. Zink & Sons Tailors & Shirtmakers Sydney

Visit this Oxford Street stalwart for bespoke tailoring.

5. Spunky Bruiser Shop

Bespoke, up-cycled fashions created with materials that have all been sustainably sourced.

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.

Leisure

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.

Shop Online

Can't visit the area soon enough? Get gems from these Darlo-based businesses sent straight to you instead.

1. The Bookshop Darlinghurst

Head here for all things queer literature.

2. Desordre

High fashion in a low-maintenance, luxury boutique store

3. Meltdown Artisan

Darlinghurst's new artisanal chocolate shop specialises in unexpected flavour combinations.

4. Footage

An immaculate boutique that's been delighting the visual senses of locals for more than a decade.

5. PAM Store Sydney

The second outpost of the Melbourne favourite, set in an ex-art gallery.

How to do Darlinghurst

Do as the locals do.

Restaurants and Pubs

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

1. Casoni

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

2. Buffalo Dining Club

There is one very compelling reason to visit this cosy joint: spaghetti in a giant cheese wheel.

3. Govindas Cinema and Restaurant

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

4. Lankan Filling Station

O Tama Carey's Sri Lankan hopper eatery.

5. Gaku Robata Grill

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

Bars

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

1. Black Bottle

A neighbourhood bar with a food cabinet of bar snacks and a very reasonably-priced wine list.

2. Gorgeous George Bar

This extravagant bar is named after a famously OTT 1950s wrestler.

3. Eau de Vie

This cocktail bar is about as close as you can get to the guilty pleasures of 'Boardwalk Empire'.

4. Big Poppa's

A late-night cheese, wine and hip hop bar.

5. Bitter Phew

Craft beer bar upstairs, natural wine bar downstairs.

Live Music

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

1. Stonewall Hotel

Party till the wee hours in this legendary three-storey bar.

2. Universal Sydney

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

3. Oxford Art Factory

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

4. Brighton Up Bar

One of Sydney's most adored live music venues.

5. The Long Goodbye

Darlinghurst's film noir-inspired cocktail bar.

Shops

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. Kakawa Chocolates

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

5. Fabrique Vintage

Head here for second-life denim and Americana.

Pubs

Darlo's watering holes offer stellar rooftops, experimental menus and late night shenanigans.

1. East Village Hotel

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

2. The Oxford Hotel

From mellow solo acts and laid-back duos to live bands and DJs.

3. Slims Rooftop

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

4. The Taphouse

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

5. The Flinders

Picklebacks all round, the Flindies is back.

CP Faves

Here are our 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. RivaReno

The Bologna-based gelato chain has landed in Sydney.

3. Chaco Bar

All ramen, all the time.

4. 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.

5. Shady Pines Saloon

The Darlinghurst original that spawned an empire.

Find Your Way Through Darlinghurst

Track down the must-visit local haunts.

ARE OUT OF VIEW SHOW ALL

Editor's Itinerary

Here is how our editor loves to spend a few hours in Darlinghurst.

Explore more of Sydney and your favourite suburbs through the eyes of other locals by following #sydneylocal on Instagram.

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