PLAYMAKER
The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Saturday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
A Day and Night Guide
SURRY HILLS
Flip the switch below
and discover Sydney by day or night.
By Concrete Playground
December 15, 2017
  shares
By Concrete Playground
December 15, 2017
  shares

Whether you’re after a soy latte or an espresso martini, Surry Hills is one of the best places to eat, drink and be merry in Sydney’s inner city suburbs.

You don’t need to be a Surry Hillbilly to make the most of this trendy inner city suburb. Do as the locals do and take a stroll down Crown Street where you’re guaranteed to pass a top-notch coffee spot, an arty bookstore or newly renovated pub at every ten steps.

In partnership with City of Sydney, we’re celebrating what makes Surry Hills 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 here.

Whether you’re after a soy latte or an espresso martini, Surry Hills is one of the best places to eat, drink and be merry in Sydney’s inner city suburbs.

If you’re up for a colourful night on the town then you should probably head for the hills. Trade up the cold drip for a microbrew and embrace an impromptu pub crawl as you experience some of the best Sydney restaurants, bars, pubs and kebabs. In that order.

In partnership with City of Sydney, we’re celebrating what makes Surry Hills 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 here.

DID YOU KNOW

Australia’s alleged earliest surviving film was shot in Surry Hills. Patineur Grotesque (The Humorous Rollerskater) was filmed in Prince Alfred Park by French director Marius Sestier in 1896. Though it was screened in France in 1897, it was only screened in Australia for the first time in 2010.

GETTING AROUND

Surry Hills is surrounded by Central Station on its western edge and the Eastern Distributor on its east. Though there are also buses that run through the area, the suburb and its many cafes, shops, restaurants and bars are best explored on foot.

DON’T MISS

Plan to spend your day lazing in the sun at Shannon Reserve. Hit Maloneys Grocer beforehand to grab some treats for an afternoon picnic at the park. Head there on the first Saturday of the month, and you’ll be met with the beloved Surry Hills Markets where you can hunt down some fine, bohemian treasures.

LOCALS LOVE

With cafes every couple of paces, Surry Hills epitomises Australia’s cafe culture. And thanks to the many cafes with outdoor seating, the suburb certainly dabbles in the city’s love for the outdoors, too. Go to Artificer to drink your coffee on the bench out front, or make your way to Single O to grab a takeaway filter from the self-serve batch brew bar.

DID YOU KNOW

Along with building its offices in 1940, Paramount Pictures also constructed a secluded art deco theatrette for screenings, which remains today, restored as the beloved Golden Age Cinema. It’s in this cinema where servicewomen would watch newsreels and films during WWII, and now, almost 80 years later, it’s still screening films for Sydneysiders.

GETTING AROUND

Surry Hills is surrounded by Central Station on its western edge and the Eastern Distributor on its east. Though there are also buses that run through the area, the suburb and its many cafes, shops, restaurants and bars are best explored on foot. Take note, most trains stop running from Central around midnight or 1am.

DON’T MISS

It sure is easy to drop a pretty penny on a night out in Surry Hills. But you can still have a good time when you’re strapped for cash. Pop into The Soda Factory on Tuesdays for $1 hotdogs, El Loco for $1 wings on Thursdays, or The Shakey for $4 tacos every day of the week.

LOCALS LOVE

Surry Hills is covered with grade A pubs of all varieties. Some cater to you and your pooch like The Carrington and The Beresford, others cater to your epicurean desires like The Dolphin. Then, of course, there are those dedicated to the beers you crave, like The Horse and Keg and Brew with their vast ranges of independent and craft brews.

How to do Surry Hills

Do as the locals do.

Coffee

Surry Hills is overflowing with great coffee spots. Whether you're a cold drip drinker or a skim cap sipper, the cafe scene has your caffeine fix sorted. Here's where to start.

1. Reuben Hills

A cafe that encapsulates the slick inner city vibe of Surry Hills with its seriously good coffee roasts.

2. Single O Surry Hills

This Surry Hills coffee stalwart now has self-serve filter on tap.

3. Veneziano Coffee Roasters

This coffee roaster has two decades of experience and a reputation for some top-notch beans.

4. Artificer Specialty Coffee Bar & Roastery

No food. Minimal seating. It's all serious coffee business here.

5. Sample Coffee

What this hole-in-the-wall joint lacks in size it makes up for in coffee expertise.

Cafes

Cult favourite hotcakes, diet-busting brunches and dietary requirement-friendly bites — brunch and lunchtime options abound in Surry Hills.

1. Bills Surry Hills

When this Crown Street breakfast institution moved next door, it scored an updated menu and look.

2. Cuckoo Callay on Crown

A second outpost for the team behind one of Newtown's busiest (and best) brunch spots.

3. Shift Eatery

Sydney's first vegan deli serves up classic sambos without the meat.

4. Paramount Coffee Project

Paramount to those that surround it, this Surry Hills cafe does ripper coffee and fabulous food.

5. Nutie Surry Hills

An entirely gluten-free (and mostly vegan) cafe and bakery in Surry Hills.

Shops

A mecca for luxe, bargain and window shoppers alike, Surry Hills is dotted with shops for all tastes. You can find your next read or finally commit to that ink you’ve been considering.

1. Title Store

There is damn good taste to be found among these books, records and films.

2. Hibernia Tattoo Studio

Get inked at this appointment-only tattoo studio in an iconic Surry Hills building.

3. Vampt Vintage Design

Make your world a little bit more 'Mad Men' with the Sydney specialists in mid-century modern.

4. Snog The Frog

This haven of fun, frivolity and fancy dress is hidden in a Surry Hills backstreet.

5. Oscar and Friends Booksellers

Visit this independent bookshop that's small in size but vast in range.

Arts and Culture

From an iconic artist’s home and studio to a ceramics studio where you can get your hands dirty, Surry Hills is a veritable design hub, offering some excellent arty experiences.

1. Brett Whiteley Studio

The space in which one of Australia's most acclaimed artists produced some of his best works.

2. Belvoir St Theatre

A mainstay on the Sydney theatre scene with a roster of innovative works.

3. China Heights Gallery

The unique contemporary space ties art and design together.

4. Golden Age Cinema and Bar

This revamped screening room and small bar brings a little old-school charm to 'going to the movies'.

5. The Pottery Shed

Clear your mind and let your hands do the hard work here.

Leisure

With great parks, a standout pool and a next-level workout zone, Surry Hills has a slew of outdoor activities for when the sun's out — plus, plenty more for when the rain moves in.

1. The Indigo Project

Where you'll find workshops, therapy, yoga and lunchtime nap classes (yes, nap classes).

2. Barry's Bootcamp Surry Hills

The Los Angeles-founded workout studio brings its high-intensity workouts to Surry Hills.

3. Paramount House Hotel

The hyper-local hotel in Surry Hills has 29 luxe suites, a rooftop cafe and a natural wine bar.

4. Cork & Chroma Sydney

A BYO art studio — because it’s easier to be creative when you’ve had a bit to drink.

5. Prince Alfred Park Pool

This inner-city pool boasts a heated 50-metre lap pool, an aquatic playground and cafe.

Shop Online

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

1. Brix Distillers

A craft rum distillery, bottle shop and bar in Surry Hills.

2. HAY Store

The sleek two-floor space specialises in contemporary Danish design.

3. The Standard Store

The standard this store sets is one of smart coolness over bombastic label gauche.

4. Buds & Bowers

Visit Surry Hills' always blooming florist for a stunning arrangement or new plant baby.

5. Published Art Bookshop

Find some of the best looking published material in town.

How to do Surry Hills

Do as the locals do.

Restaurants and Pubs

The only issue when it comes to dining in Surry Hills is deciding where to go. You may never make your way through every eatery, but you should definitely start with these.

1. Sang by Mabasa

Artfully plated, delicate Korean fare in a quiet corner of Surry Hills.

2. Chin Chin

Sydney's first outpost of Melbourne's famed loud, punchy and queue-inviting Thai eatery.

3. Arthur

The 35-seater offers a changing 11-dish menu over two sittings each night.

4. Nomad

'Nomad' appears to be a misnomer: this is one place we'd be very content to set down some roots.

5. Nour

Contemporary Lebanese food with a twist.

Pubs and Bars

Tucked down alleyways and behind clandestine doors, some of Surry Hills' bars make you work to find them — but once you do, you'll be well rewarded.

1. Dead Ringer

The Bulletin Place team reinvent Bacardi Breezers, Redskins and so many nostalgic favourites.

2. Tokyo Bird

Tokyo Bird is ruling the roost with a focus on hot-right-now Japanese whisky and yakitori sticks.

3. Four Pillars Laboratory

An experimental distillery, a gin shop and stunning bar by the Four Pillars crew.

4. Dove & Olive

The first rule of Craft Beer Fight Club is you do not talk about Craft Beer Fight Club.

5. The Dolphin Hotel

Maurice Terzini's revamped version of the pub.

Live Music

From intimate local favourite to joints where you get a go on the mic, catch some tunes and throw some shapes at these live music haunts around Surry Hills.

1. Button Bar

Avast ye small bar enthusiasts. This is Button Bar. Welcome aboard.

2. The Soda Factory

Venture beyond the Bobby's storefront for boozy spiders, $1 hot dogs and 50s tunes.

3. Cricketers Arms Hotel

Known more intimately as the Crix, this is the kind of local that will make you want to move into the area.

4. Goros

A kitsch Japanese dive bar with a late night DJ, arcade games and three karaoke rooms.

5. The Gaelic Club Sydney

A dose of Irish fun.

Shops

Fashion, funky cheese or a first-rate haircut. You want it, you’ll find it — all post 5pm in Surry Hills.

1. Fringe on Crown

This Surry Hills favourite specialises in extensions and balayage.

2. Formaggi Ocello

Rare imports, cured meats, and cheese and wine nights — welcome to Sydney's fromage epicentre.

3. Cleveland's

This former cafe-cum-barber has changed hands and gone back to basics, focusing on all things hair, all day long.

4. Above The Clouds Store

Head to this Crown Street store for the freshest kicks and streetwear labels from around the globe.

5. Crown Street Grocer

Small but mighty; this is where you'll want to do your weekly food shop.

Takeaway Feeds

Grabbing a quick bite after work or fuelling up before a night on the d-floor? These spots will curb your late-night cravings.

1. Shwarmama

Surry Hills' hole-in-the-wall kebab shop by Ester's Mat Lindsay.

2. Butter

The ridiculous palace of fried chicken, sneakers and champagne Sydney deserves.

3. Pizza Fritta 180

Order calzone-like pizza frittas filled with pork cheek and burrata-topped pies from this Surry Hills restaurant dedicated to fried pizza.

4. Mark + Vinny's

It's not all about neon spaghetti at this vegan-friendly restaurant.

5. Bar Ume

Bourke Street's Ume has gone casual with burgers and a sizeable whisky and sake selection.

CP Staff Faves

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

1. Tio's Cerveceria

Surry Hills' home of tequila, cocktails and free popcorn.

2. Poly

The Ester team's still-very-elegant take on a casual restaurant and wine bar.

3. Don't Tell Aunty

Rule-breaking curries, retro Bollywood films flickering on the walls and a self-serve beer fridge in the old 4Fourteen site.

4. Yulli's

The quintessential vegetarian experience in Surry Hills.

5. Firedoor

No gas. No electricity. Only wood-coal fire and some very punchy flavours.

Find Your Way Through Surry Hills

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 Surry Hills.

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

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter