Even though I love the little oasis of calm and respectability that is my Coogee home, I haven’t forgotten the East London vibes. Sydney’s Newtown is what’s closest to it, but it has its own unique Aussie spin.
Newtown is a paradise for street art lovers, a mecca for vegan cafés and restaurants, a succession of hip bars and cool coffee shops, a long street of vintage and one-of-a-kind boutiques that will make you want to go back from your first visit.
Mainly revolving around King Street, Newtown is in between the slightly more relaxed Alexandria and Camperdown, home of The University of Sydney. It’s a residential area that used to be pretty dodgy but has now become the home of students, creatives, theatre productions, dance nights and live music. You could spend hours wandering around its little corners, trying to discover restaurant after restaurant, graffiti after graffiti (which provide more than one chance to pose like an idiot) but here’s a round-up of my favourites.
For cutlery, plates and quirky home furniture featuring kids’ drawings or popular memes, head to Monster Threads on King Street. Also on King Street is Blue Dog Posters and Prints, which sells Sydney posters together with Marvel and DC Comics Prints. Better Read Than Dead is a lovely bookshop with quirky books and great evening talks. My favourite place to stop by though has to be Elizabeth’s Bookshop, a bookworm’s happy place, made of new and used books and, most importantly, “location” of a blind date with a book. What is that, you ask? Simples: you pick up a book that’s wrapped in paper, which outlines just a few details about the novel. Then you take it home and read it without having had the chance to read the plot on the back cover or to flick through its pages.
Newtown doesn’t shy from healthy vegan options, like Super Food Sushi or The Shack, but it’s also the home of some pretty extreme food options. Cloud 9 Chocolate Café gives you gelato sliders, while N2 Extreme Gelato makes “liquid nitrogen gelato ice cream”… Whatever that is. If you still haven’t had enough carbs, The Pie Tin offers a wide range of sweet and savoury pies while also giving you the option to try the “Slice O’Pie” thickshake, basically a whole slice of indulgent cake crushed into a giant-sized shake. I had it a while ago and I still haven’t properly recovered.
If you’re looking for places to sit down and relax, T Totaler is an artisan loose leaf tea company and a tea bar serving more than 50 unique blends. The bar also organises “Tea Alchemist” workshops and matched tea and cake degustations. Otherwise, if you’re more into your meaty stuff, stop by Mary’s burgers or Jack’s Newtown, a heaven made of exquisitely runny burgers, crinkly fries and thick custard shakes served right in front of a wall celebrating all the key landmarks of the area.
…and who doesn’t like a neon sign, right? Newtown is hip town.
Pictures: Carolina Are