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A DAY AND NIGHT GUIDE
NEWTOWN AND ERSKINEVILLE
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

A suburb known for its diverse mix of food, drink, art and people, Newtown has always been one of Sydney’s busiest suburbs — there's always plenty to do and see.

In partnership with City of Sydney, we’re celebrating what makes Newtown and Erskineville such vibrant communities to live in and visit: their 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.

A suburb known for its diverse mix of food, drink, art and people, Newtown has always been one of Sydney’s busiest suburbs — there's always plenty to do and see.

In partnership with City of Sydney, we’re celebrating what makes Newtown and Erskineville such vibrant communities to live in and visit: their 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

Rumour has it that Eliza Donnithorne, a Sydney socialite and Newtown resident from the mid-1800s, was the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. She was allegedly abandoned by her husband-to-be just before their wedding and spent the rest of her life hidden away in her King Street home, still wearing her wedding dress, awaiting his return.

GETTING AROUND

With so many public transport options to get you to Newtown, there’s no need to drive here (especially if you want to avoid the inevitable traffic along King Street). Newtown Station will set you right in the thumping heart of the suburb, and likewise with Erskineville Station. Several buses will ferry you in and out of the area towards the city, down south King or Enmore Road towards the rest of the inner west.

DON’T MISS

Start the day full of energy thanks to the famed breakfast ramen from Rising Sun Workshop and one of its fizzy bubblers (iced espresso with sparkling water and lime). Next up, shop your way down the street towards Sydney Park for dog spotting and lazing in the afternoon sun. Or stop off at one of the many beer gardens in the area like The Courthouse or The Erko.

LOCALS LOVE

Thrift and vintage shops reign supreme in Newtown, where locals and visitors flock to score sartorial treasures from curated second-hand and vintage spots like SWOP, U-Turn and Route 66 to donation shops like the massive Vinnies and the Australian Red Cross.

DID YOU KNOW

Enmore Theatre is Sydney’s oldest, longest-running theatre. Originally opened in 1912 as a photo-play theatre (screening silent movies with a live orchestra), the building was renovated in 1920, when it was given its iconic art deco style. The theatre has seen several iterations over the years, including a cinema screening Greek language films and was luckily spared from demolition in the 80s.

GETTING AROUND

With so many public transport options to get you to Newtown, there’s no need to drive here (especially if you want to avoid the inevitable traffic along King Street). Newtown Station will set you right in the thumping heart of the suburb, and likewise with Erskineville Station. Several buses will ferry you in and out of the area towards the city, down south King or Enmore Road towards the rest of the inner west.

DON’T MISS

Once the sun goes down, Sydneysiders from all over fill the suburb on their way to dinner, drinks or a gig. Kick off your night with happy hour cocktails at Corridor on its sunny, petit balcony and a pre-gig feed at one of the 15-plus Thai restaurants dotting King. Then hit Enmore Theatre for a show and round out the night with canned cocktails (and maybe a sneaky plate of cheese) at Continental Deli.

LOCALS LOVE

This is one of the most vegan-friendly areas in Sydney. Vegan options can be found at a majority of the restaurants, but just south of Newtown Station along King Street is where vegan cuisine dominates. Here you’ll find vegan Asian-fusion at Golden Lotus, vegan pizza at Gigi’s, the vegan, donation-based Lentil as Anything and vegan Vietnamese at Vina, all in a row.

How to do Newtown and Erskineville

Do as the locals do.

Cafes

From house-roasted coffee and fresh baked goods to a long black with steaming shakshuka, you'll want for nothing when it comes to brekkie in Newtown.

1. One Another

This cafe in the backstreets of Newtown is serving up stellar (and affordable) brunch dishes.

2. Brewtown Newtown

The top brunch fare, baked in-house pastries and outstanding coffee make this one of Sydney's best cafes.

3. Fleetwood Macchiato

There's plenty to like about Fleetwood Macchiato aside from its punchline sagacity.

4. Cafe Shenkin

Erskineville's long-loved home of hearty shakshuka and insanely good pastries.

5. Cuckoo Callay

One train station cafe that's very worth your time.

Restaurants

With great eats every ten paces, deciding where to eat in the area can be difficult. We recommend planning for second lunch. Here's where to start.

1. El Jannah Express

The first inner west outpost of the cult-favourite charcoal chicken shop.

2. Flour Drum

This south King Street gem is serving up banoffee pancakes and slow-cooked lamb ragu with heaps of hospitality.

3. Mary's

A rock 'n' roll Newtown stalwart, with standout Maccas-style burgers and natural wines.

4. Lentil as Anything

Make friends with salad (and legumes) — and pay what you feel.

5. Gigi's Pizzeria

It's a brave, new, cheeseless world.

Shops

Vintage may dominate, but there are also plenty other treasures to shop for in the area — from plant babies to super smelly cheese.

1. Newtown Garden Market

Whether you have a green thumb or not, these gardening specialists have got you covered.

2. SWOP Clothing Exchange

Uncover some buried fashion treasures at this expertly curated, second-hand shop on Enmore Road.

3. The Stinking Bishops

A place where cheese gets the recognition it deserves.

4. Route 66

Surry Hills' longstanding vintage store has started a new chapter in Newtown.

5. Pentimento

Present shopping that is easy-peasy.

Pubs

If you're a big fan of craft brews and beer gardens (and who isn't?), then you'll be well-placed around Newtown and Erskineville.

1. The Kurrajong Hotel

The Erskineville pub has a new look and a new menu of craft brews thanks to the Gurdys team.

2. The Courthouse Hotel

The unpretentious, grungy gem of Newtown with one of the finest outdoor courtyards in Sydney.

3. Young Henrys

The Newtonian craft brewery that started it all.

4. The Bank Hotel Beer Garden

A local favourite serving brews, pub grub and eats from the outdoor barbecue.

5. The Erko

This dog-friendly local is now all 'bout American barbecue.

Leisure

Parks for dog spotting, halls for dancing and kidult playgrounds for putt-putt — grab some mates and head to one (or all) of these spots.

1. The Cipher Room

Put your thinking cap on and see how quickly you can break out of this expertly designed escape room.

2. Camperdown Memorial Rest Park

People (and pooch) watching away from the King Street chaos.

3. A Loft Story

Newtown's greenery-filled hair salon.

4. Holey Moley Golf Club

Newtown's mini-golf bar with 18 holes, a bao station and a room dedicated to The Simpsons.

5. 1989 Arcade Bar

Mash buttons over a burger or hot brew on King Street.

Shop Online

Can't visit the area soon enough? Do some online browsing and get gems from these Newtown-based businesses sent straight to you instead.

1. The Social Outfit

Where else can you get recycled vintage Ken Done fabrics and help out Australia's new migrants?

2. La Favola

This new Italian eatery serves up some of the best pasta in Newtown.

3. Repressed Records

All the hard-to-find vinyl you could ask for.

4. Elizabeth's Secondhand Bookshops

Find the book you've been searching for or maybe one you haven't.

5. No Lights No Lycra Sydney

De-stress with a weekly spot of dancing in the dark, no judgements.

How to do Newtown and Erskineville

Do as the locals do.

Restaurants

Fried chicken, laksa, green curry — the only difficult thing about going to dinner here is deciding where to go. Let us help you out.

1. Golden Lotus Vegan

A family-run Vietnamese eatery that will please both vegans and their carnivorous companions alike.

2. Flying Tong

Newtown's BYO go-to for authentic Korean fried chicken and bibimbap from a family recipe.

3. Hartsyard

Jarrod Walsh and Dot Lee have taken over the venue, given it a facelift and rolled out a new menu.

4. Cafe Paci

A Nordic-European restaurant in Newtown from famed chef Pasi Petänen.

5. Lonely Mouth

An all-vegan ramen joint from the RaRa team.

Bars

Home to many a pub and several beloved small bars, the area offers up plenty of tasty tipples no matter your drink of choice.

1. Continental Deli Bar Bistro

Where drinking cocktails gets that much better because they're served in cans.

2. Earl's Juke Joint

Bourbon Street meets Newtown at this New Orleans-infused, broody bar.

3. Bloodwood

A small eatery serving natural wine and polenta chips with a cult following.

4. The Hive Bar

A true local bar, the Hive is one of the best spots on the Erskineville Road strip.

5. Gurdys

A Newtown small bar with a focus on sustainability.

Live Music

Live music lives in Newtown. Of course there’s the Enmore Theatre, but there are also many smaller venues keeping the music alive.

1. The Vanguard Newtown

Newtown's much-loved live music venue has returned.

2. The Midnight Special

This small, dimly lit bar is the perfect setting for live tunes and expertly made cocktails.

3. Blacksheep

Owners Peter Sulis and Aaron Fitton serve up a local's bar that never fails to surprise.

4. Botany View Hotel

This iconic south King Street watering hole has been revamped by The Lord Gladstone team.

5. The Imperial Erskineville

It's all about drag and drinks, darling.

Shops

Chances are, after sundown, you’re on your way to eat, drink and be merry. If there’s time though, pop into these shops.

1. Elizabeth's Secondhand Bookshops

Find the book you've been searching for or maybe one you haven't.

2. P&V Wine and Liquor

A boutique bottle-o stocking organic wine, beer and spirits, as well as its own pre-batch cocktails.

3. Her Banana

A small studio specialising in minimal jewellery design.

4. Better Read Than Dead

Thriving since 1996, and keeping the independent bookshop spirit alive.

5. Dr Earth Newtown

Stop by for health foods, supplements and eco-friendly products.

Arts and Culture

There’s a cinema, some theatres and a place where you can sip wine as you paint a masterpiece. Get your art fix after dark.

1. Enmore Theatre

Sydney's most beautiful theatre maintains an antique, old-world feel inside a contemporary venue.

2. Dendy Newtown

Get your culture fix with a side of popcorn at this independent cinema.

3. Brush and Sip

Painting and pinot go hand-in-hand at this King Street studio.

4. Diana Reyes Flamenco

Improve your rhythm and steely gaze with traditional flamenco dance classes.

5. New Theatre

A long-running community theatre that runs on passion.

CP Faves

Here are our favourite haunts for when the sun goes down and the streets of Newtown come alive.

1. Bella Brutta

A Newtown pizza joint from the minds behind LP's and Porteño.

2. Mapo Newtown

A sustainable ice cream shop with lots of dairy and vegan options.

3. Cairo Takeaway

An Enmore eatery doing full Egyptian breakfasts and full-on falafel.

4. Rising Sun Workshop

A ramen cafe and bike shop run by ramen-loving bikers.

5. Thai Pothong Restaurant

This 350-seater Thai restaurant is a King Street staple.

Editor's Itinerary

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

Find Your Way Through Newtown

Track down the must-visit local haunts.

ARE OUT OF VIEW SHOW ALL

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