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19° & CLOUDY ON FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBER IN SYDNEY
By Concrete Playground
November 07, 2019
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By Concrete Playground
November 07, 2019
  shares

From the sparkling harbourfront of Barangaroo and the colonial architecture of The Rocks to the hawker-style eateries in Haymarket and the buzzing bar scene in Redfern, Sydney's inner city is a diverse landscape of culture, history and art.

You can sip a cocktail and watch the ferries putter past in Barangaroo, hop on a train and be feasting on dumplings fifteen minutes later in Chinatown, then head to a Redfern bar for a late-night performance.

We’ve partnered with American Express to bring you the very best of local businesses in the inner city. All of these divine hotspots welcome you — and your American Express Card — so you can shop small with ease.

GETTING AROUND

A good pair of shoes, your Opal card and the Sydney Trains timetable are all you need to get around the inner city. Central Station is the bustling transport hub of Sydney — from here, you’ll be able to find your way anywhere you want to get to either by train (to Redfern and around the city circle), light rail or on foot.

DON’T MISS

Say what you will about Sydney’s nightlife, but it does boast a thriving small bar scene. These haunts, including the CBD’s PS40 and Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, and The Bearded Tit in Redfern, are experts at stirring, shaking and serving up inventive cocktails, and live entertainment, for the post-work crowds.

HIGH STREETS

The CBD’s Pitt Street is where you’ll find high-end boutiques and big-name brands, while Barangaroo Avenue plays host to specialty food stores and eateries. Meanwhile, Redfern’s high street offers a more suburban experience with an eclectic mix of buzzing bars and neighbourhood essentials.

LOCALS LOVE

In a city that’s seen a few facelifts (hello Light Rail and Barangaroo), it’s comforting to know that good local businesses can withstand constant change. Nowhere maintains this sense of history and local pride better than the Victorian-era mall, the Strand Arcade, housing longstanding milliner Strand Hatters, cobbler Andrew Macdonald Shoemaker, and the artisan hub Courtesy of the Artist. Head inside for a history lesson in quality customer service and craftsmanship.

THE SHOPPING LISTS

Explore three of the inner city's thriving shopping precincts.

Hazem from Redfern Convenience Store
The Localist: Redfern
Coming Soon

Your Inner City Hit List

Looking for fresh produce, funky cheese or a one-of-a-kind gift? Find what you're looking for here.
List
Map
  • Design & Style
    Barangaroo

    BELANCE

    Bespoke tailoring and luxe accessories.

  • Design & Style
    Barangaroo

    Collector Store Barangaroo

    This city outpost of a Surry Hills favourite stocks thoughtfully designed fashion and homewares.

  • Arts & Entertainment
    Sydney

    Kings Comics

    One of Australia's longest running comic retailers, this pop culture haven receives new stock from the US every week.

  • Design & Style
    Sydney

    Courtesy of the Artist

    An inner-city collective of artistic minds and passionate jewellery designers, championing Aussie materials, workers and talent.

  • Travel & Leisure
    Sydney

    Men's Biz Sydney

    Walk out of this CBD barbershop feeling fresh and fine, with new skin and hair care products to keep it going.

  • Design & Style
    Sydney

    Strand Hatters

    Where to go if you want to drop money on a hat that will last you for 20 years.

  • Design & Style
    Redfern

    Chee Soon & Fitzgerald

    A Sydney institution supplying bold ceramics, cushions, textiles and vintage design pieces.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    The Lord Gladstone

    Continuing the Abercrombie's legacy of deep-fried Golden Gaytimes and Chippendale chill-outs.

  • Food & Drink
    Zetland

    The Colins Butcher Sydney

    This Zetland butchery specialises in premium cuts and handmade products.

  • Food & Drink
    Pyrmont

    Quick Brown Fox

    A Pyrmont cafe with Single O coffee and food by an ex-Fat Duck chef.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Redfern Fruit Market

    A classic local fruit and veg market and Asian grocer in Redfern.

  • Food & Drink
    The Rocks

    The Fine Food Store

    A Brooklyn-inspired eatery serving simple but delicious cafe meals and really good coffee.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Forty Licks

    An underground restaurant serving Vietnamese noodle soups and fancy cocktails.

  • Food & Drink
    The Rocks

    Aslan Coffee Roasters The Rocks

    Specialty coffee from Indonesia — and the cafe eats to go with it — in the city.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Chica Bonita CBD

    Refined Mexican fare in a stunning restaurant on Clarence Street.

  • Food & Drink
    Alexandria

    Rocks Brewing Co

    Brews inspired by the dubious characters of colonial past.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Brooklyn Boy Bagels

    An NYC-style bagelry and deli serving up pastrami on rye, Mecca coffee and bagels with plenty of schmear inside Gateway Sydney.

  • Food & Drink
    Pyrmont

    Bar Clementine

    A European-style wine bar in Pyrmont.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Redfern Convenience Store

    The local corner store with a cult-like fan base.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    The Beer Barrel

    This hidden gem specialises in pouring quality craft beers directly into growlers.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    MCA Cafe

    The rooftop cafe is now serving an all-vegetarian menu by Cornersmith — and everything is under $20.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Normcore Coffee Roasters

    A CBD coffee haunt run by two award-winning baristas.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Portal

    This new CBD spot combines all-day eating, an ex-Mecca chef and serious support for those in need.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    RaRa

    Redfern's 28-seater neighbourhood ramen joint.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Huxtaburger

    The Melbourne hamburger haven's first Sydney store has 20 different burgs and triple-scoop shakes.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Pablo & Rusty's

    A bustling CBD cafe that's serving up the chain's signature blends and a big all-day menu.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Single O CBD

    This takeaway window on York Street serves great coffee, loaded crumpets and bacon and egg rolls.

  • Food & Drink
    Pyrmont

    Whirly Bird

    Bird is the word at this Pyrmont chicken joint.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Shelbourne Hotel

    A CBD gem, great for anything from al fresco afternoons to late-night dance sessions.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Cross Eatery

    This buzzing CBD cafe boasts healthy salads, quality coffee and kombucha on tap.

  • Food & Drink
    The Rocks

    The Doss House

    An old-world whisky bar in The Rocks.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    The Nighthawk Diner

    The beloved Americana food truck has found a permanent home in Chippendale.

  • Design & Style
    Chippendale

    Triple Major Store

    A concept store originating from China celebrating independent fashion.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Ippudo Sydney

    In a city not short on a bowl of ramen, this soupy joint stands out from the crowd.

  • Food & Drink
    Waterloo

    Baby Coffee Co.

    Neon, pastels, good coffee and great cocktails.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Dae Jang Kum

    Get smoky with a Korean BBQ experience. Knock back some marinated beef ribs and tasty bulgogi with a cold Korean beer.

  • Design & Style
    Barangaroo

    Title Barangaroo

    An independent bookshop proving print isn't dead.

  • Food & Drink
    Ultimo

    Local Mbassy

    A quaint cafe serving red velvet everything.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Bar Luca

    Go for the Blame Canada, stay for an outrageous weekly special.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    Sneaky Possum

    Chippendale's multifaceted bar can satisfy your morning caffeine fix and your late-night margarita craving.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Sasaki

    Some of Sydney's best Japanese fare is being served out of this hole-in-the-wall behind a police station.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    Olio

    Kensington Street's Sicilian restaurant serving traditional dishes with contemporary flourishes.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    The Walrus

    A bright, reliable CBD cafe doing fried chicken burgers, coffee and house-made sodas.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Mjolner

    A Thor-inspired carvery doing modern Nordic food and exceptional cocktails.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Vine Providore

    Fine wine and beer without the price tag.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Spawn Point

    Let your inner geek run wild with Nintendo games and cocktails.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Happy D's

    Redfern's tiny hole-in-the-wall dumplings and beer bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    Eastside Kitchen

    A New York-style steakhouse with acclaimed chef Stanley Wong behind the wheel.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Redfern Continental

    Arcadia Liquors' European bistro is the perfect neighbourhood bistro

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Down N' Out

    Sydney's In-N-Out-inspired burgers have found a permanent home inside a CBD pub.

  • Food & Drink
    Barangaroo

    Ume Burger

    Japanese burgers and a soft serve machine by the water.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Burrow Bar

    This cosy, hidden gem feels just like a friend's lounge room.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Cabrito Coffee Traders

    Survive the daily grind with a quality cuppa.

  • Travel & Leisure
    Redfern

    The DEA Store

    Aesthetically pleasing homewares to fill your home with.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Kobe Jones Sydney

    Waterside Japanese dining in the CBD.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Popina Kitchen

    It's the latest eatery to open in the new Gateway Sydney complex.

  • Arts & Entertainment
    Ultimo

    Foundry 616

    One of Sydney's most loved jazz and blues clubs.

  • Food & Drink
    Pyrmont

    Gallon

    Wine and crumbed soft cheese in a leafy Pyrmont courtyard.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Long Chim

    Prep your chilli tolerance for a visit to David Thompson's Thai fine dining restaurant.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Mercado

    Nathan Sasi's restaurant focuses on Spanish food and house-made smallgoods.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    The Port

    Darling Harbour has a new French coastal-inspired bar and eatery...and it isn't your usual tourist spot.

  • Food & Drink
    Barangaroo

    Zushi Barangaroo

    The Sydney sushi masters' third offering brings their acclaimed offering to Barangaroo.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Chat Thai Circular Quay

    The Sydney stalwart has opened in Gateway at Circular Quay.

  • Food & Drink
    Pyrmont

    Love Crepe

    Pyrmont's palace of crepes, shakes and gelato.

  • Food & Drink
    Ultimo

    Salt Meats Cheese Broadway

    Their city outpost goes beyond the basics with burgers, a DJ and a menu devoted to Nutella.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Kittyhawk

    Combining a French military aesthetic with an end of war party vibe, and stocked with over 900 spirits — expect banging cocktails.

  • Food & Drink
    Alexandria

    Sonoma Cafe

    The bakery's Alexandria outpost set within an industrial warehouse.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Moya's Juniper Lounge

    This classy Redfern gin bar is gunning to become your local haunt (if it's not already).

  • Food & Drink
    Barangaroo

    Anason

    Brilliant Turkish food at Barangaroo.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    PS40

    The 'open soda door' from former Bulletin Place, Sokyo and Der Raum folks.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    RivaReno Gelato Barangaroo

    The Surry Hills favourite brings its pistachio, mascarpone and, of course, cremino harbourside.

  • Arts & Entertainment
    Haymarket

    Basement Books

    Let the bargain book buys begin.

  • Food & Drink
    Waterloo

    The Cauliflower Hotel

    A sprawling old pub (established in 1838, in fact) which plays host to a rotating roster of bands.

  • Food & Drink
    Alexandria

    COOH Alexandria

    Wholesome dining in an unsuspecting industrial area.

  • Food & Drink
    Waterloo

    Kepos & Co.

    A delightful piece of old Jerusalem gracing Waterloo with a mix of Aussie favourites and Middle Eastern flavours.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Basket Brothers

    The name of the game at Basket Brothers is next level comfort food.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Barrio Cellar

    Some of Sydney's best tequila and mezcal cocktails await at the Barrio Chino team's basement bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    The Swinging Cat

    A sophisticated homage to New Orleans and its signature drink, the sazerac.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Sea Bay Restaurant

    Dishing up tasty north-west Chinese classics and some of the gooiest dumplings around town.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    The Spice Room

    Head chef Darbyan Singh transforms Peshawari-style Indian street food into must-try, high-end dining.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    Ippudo

    Are you a hopeless ramen-tic? Find comforting bowls of bone broth at this popular ramen chain.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Breadfern Bakery

    Tapeo bakery needed a little more baking room.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    The Bearded Tit

    Turn left at the crocheted penises and enter Redfern's brazen art bar.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Kingswood Coffee

    Kingswood Coffee not only has your coffee needs covered but also offers a little nod to Sydney's past.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    Zigi's Wine Bar

    Art, wine and cheese, it’s the golden trifecta. It’s not in the title, but they do cooking classes, too.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Piccolo Me

    Piccolo Me is pulling out some pretty quirky stops to help attract a crowd.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    NoOk Urban Fresh Bar

    Fresh produce, creative all-day brekkies and outstanding local coffee in the heart of Sydney's CBD.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Ramblin' Rascal Tavern

    More Swillhouse graduates make for a booze-slingin' good time.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Milk Bar by Cafe Ish

    There's more to Milk Bar than just the milk. Though the milk is pretty spectacular.

  • Food & Drink
    Rosebery

    Black Star Pastry Rosebery

    Whereas the Newtown store is driven by cakes, here it’s more about lunch, bread and the woodfired oven.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Cafe Del Mar Sydney

    Whether it's a part of the original brand or not, this venue is topnotch.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Bristol Arms Hotel

    Not one but two large roof terraces - just in time for summer.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    The Duck Inn Pub & Kitchen

    Across from the Seymour Centre and hidden just out of view from the hustle of Cleveland Street is a real quacker of a pub.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    The Lobo Plantation

    The moment you step up to the bar, you're made to feel like a real regular at this relaxed yet refined slice of old Cuba.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Kepos Street Kitchen

    All-day Israeli dining, where you can have falafel for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    York Lane

    York Lane is the CBD's much needed coffee shop turned small bar. Caffeine addicts and after-work boozers rejoice.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    St Jude

    A café at the Redfern end of Bourke Street that's it's the answer to our prayers.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Mojo Record Bar

    Tucked away behind Mojo Records on York Street lies this inner city drinking cave.

  • Food & Drink
    Haymarket

    Chat Thai

    A Sydney mainstay doing favourites well — and at very, very reasonable prices.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Small Bar

    It’s quaint, home to good company, good food and tasty mulled wine - the perfect choice for chilly winter nights.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Coffee Tea & Me

    Coffee Tea & Me has that unique combination of charming decor, really good food, and delightfully low prices.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Assembly

    Assembly is a spanking new option on the city's map of small bars with the atmosphere of an adult's treehouse.

  • Food & Drink
    Chippendale

    The Rose Hotel

    This vibrant beer garden has provided an inner city oasis for over one hundred years.

  • Food & Drink
    Redfern

    Fernside Coffee Shoppe

    Fernside, cheekily distancing itself from the neighbouring Surry Hills, isn’t revolutionising the café concept but what they do, they do damn well.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Poolside Cafe

    All your beach parties and frolicking in the ocean counts for nothing if you haven't visited this place.

  • Food & Drink
    The Rocks

    The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

    Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel and home of Australia's oldest pub brewery.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Grandma's

    A CBD cocktail bar with faded granny glamour.

  • Food & Drink
    Sydney

    Opera Kitchen

    The classiest food court our city has to offer. Harbourside views make this perfect for pre/post show wining and dining.

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