From late-night bookstores and quaint delis to offbeat burgers and quirky cocktails, the gritty streets of Newtown will take you from boho to grunge to gourmet quicker than you can order a margarita. Whether you're looking for food, music, coffee, cocktails, or even a game of golf, this hipster hangout has got it covered. Here are a few of our favourite Newtown haunts to put on your weekend wishlist…
This deli-cum-cocktail bar serves up fresh meats and cheeses by day and candlelit cocktails after dark. Tiled walls and old-school wooden bars set the scene, but it’s the deli platters, pickles and negronis served in retro cans that are the stars of the show. Not to mention the Bruce Springsteen soundtracks. After sipping a few martinnies —that’s a Martini in a tin for those who aren’t in the know — there’s every chance you’ll be dancing in the dark.
210 Australia St, Newtown
With endless boutiques, quaint cafés and an abundance of trendy bars and restaurants, a stroll down King Street is more than enough to keep you entertained. But for those with a literary nose, be sure to browse Elizabeth’s Books’ impressive collection of pre-loved second-hand books. From noteworthy classics to Stella Prize winners, you’ll find every novel under the sun at this charming late-night haunt (it’s open until 10/11pm daily).
Insider tip: Check out their ‘Blind Date Books’ section. They’re books wrapped up in brown paper, so the reader won’t know what the story is until they tear off the wrapping. There are a few cryptic clues written on the front, but essentially it’s designed to surprise, without giving away the title of the book. Genius.
257 King St, Newtown
The Holy Grail for cheese lovers, this boutique cheese bar serves up a drool-worthy selection of creamy, crumbly iterations. The larder comes loaded with over 40 different types of Australian and international cheeses and delicious cuts of cured meats. Moreish platters of smoked pancetta, salami and ‘nduja sit alongside generous slabs of Italian Buffalo Camembert and Australian Venus Blue. For hungrier appetites there are larger plates of ‘Bread & Butter Pickle Mac ’n’ Cheese’ and ‘Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken’, but if you’re stopping off for lunch, be sure to try the 'Mr Crispy' smoked wagyu beef sandwich — it’s to-die-for.
Shop 5, 63-71 Enmore Road, Newtown
Part motorcycle workshop, part eatery, part café, Rising Sun Workshop’s eclectic space is the definition of cool. Bowls of steaming breakfast ramen are guaranteed to get you going first thing in the morning or for dinner, wind down with sizzling gyozas and kingfish ceviche tostadas.
1c Whateley Street, Newtown
Small-yet-perfectly formed, this charming neighbourhood eatery is naturally a big hit with Newtown locals. Foodies travel from every corner of the city to grab front row seats to this intimate fine-dining restaurant. Look forward to first-class, friendly service and a spectacular array of theatrical tasting plates.
Insider tip: Book in advance — there are only 11 tables in total — and opt for the eight-course degustation menu. You won’t know what you’re getting (every dish is a surprise), but believe us, having previously featured the likes of 'soured' cream with barramundi, and 'burnt' avocado with rabbit crépinettes, you won’t be disappointed.
275 Australia Street, Newtown
An Enmore Institution, this Middle Eastern gem serves up a magnificent Egyptian spread. As well as fresh salads with smoked meats, exotic breakfasts and plates of pitas and pickled veg, Cairo has its own dedicated falafel bar where golden, crispy falafel balls come drizzled with creamy tahini, fresh leaves and tangy pickles, all neatly wrapped in a soft sesame-crusted pita.
Insider tip:Cairo is the perfect pitstop for a lunchtime bite, but for post-work indulgence, head there for dinner and take advantage of their cunning BYO option.
81 Enmore Road, Newtown
The folks at Corridor really know their stuff, so for the discerning cocktail drinker, this is the place to head. The bar chefs will happily rustle up any cocktail of your choice, but with the likes of Saké punch and Plums and Roses — dry elderflower liquor with lime juice, rose syrup and salted plum — on the menu, there’s every reason to indulge.
153a, King St, Newtown
This New York-style dive bar is as gritty as they come, with dark, dingy interiors — there are skull motifs-a-plenty — and old thrash metal playing from the speakers. But it’s not just Guns n’ Roses fans forming an orderly queue, Mary’s is famous for serving up one of the best/dirtiest burgers in the Inner West. Hole up any night of the week for a juicy American-style patty slathered in melted cheese and pickles. Naturally to be washed down with one of their signature Bloody Marys.
6 Mary Street, Newtown
One of our favourite homeware stores, this eco-friendly boutique comes steeped in style. Offering a chic collection of feel-good favourites — think bio-degradable toothbrushes, organic soaps and handcrafted artisan homewares — everything in the store is sustainable, artfully crafted and wonderfully unique, designed with the conscious shopper in mind.
345 King Street, Newtown
Impeccable playlists and inventive cocktails are the essence of Newtown’s celebrated live music venue. But it’s not just the whiskey sours and rock ’n’ roll set lists drawing in the crowds, Leadbelly’s American-style menu of deep fried Southern classics is reason alone to cancel your dinner plans. Cleverly designed to be devoured during the gig, tuck into the likes of popcorn shrimp and smoked brisket po' boys with a smoky whiskey cocktail. Our favourite? Rye Me A River served with Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Rosemary Maple and aromatic Hickory Bitters.
42 King St, Newtown
A treasure trove of vintage finds, this second-hand clothing store champions sustainability, affordability and anti-waste by purchasing pre-loved items from the public and selling them on at affordable prices. From vintage knits to rare designer gems, you’ll find some unique one-off bargains at this creative, feel-good fashion house.
2/112-116 Enmore Rd, Newtown
A one-stop shop of drinking, dancing and putting, this mini golf bar comes with a heavy hit of nostalgia and a side serving of F.U.N. As well as retro arcade games and kitsch cocktails — think ‘Sugar Caddy’ and ‘Happy Gilmoreo’ — food comes courtesy of Take a Bao, with delicious plates of Spicy Korean Glazed Wings and sticky Pork Belly Bao. Brace yourselves for the Mouse Trap finale and let your inner child run free.
387 King St, Newtown