Newtown

Newtown is a great place to check out, on your next visit to Sydney. Packed with many great shops, bars and restaurants, it is always a hive of activity whenever you go.

A rather bohemian neighbourhood that features some gorgeous, restored 19th century Victorian buildings and impressive street art that includes a mural of Martin Luther King, Newtown has a young and vibrant feel about it. Possibly as a result of all the University of Sydney students that live around the area.

It is only 4km away from the Sydney CBD. So whether it is for shopping during the day, or for an evening of fabulous food and live entertainment, you should definitely make the effort to visit this lively inner west suburb.

King Street

King Street is where it all happens in Newtown. During the day people flock here to visit the many cool vintage shops, designer boutiques and specialty stores, which sell pretty much everything from plants and books to records and clothes.

The southern end of King Street, which is colloquially referred to as SoKi, has an especially good selection, including Leo Monk Handbags, which happens to be one of my wife’s favourite shops!

Like Paddington in the Sydney CBD, Newtown is well known for its excellent nightlife. With a number of fantastic bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in the area, you are always guaranteed a good night out on the town.

Cafes & Restaurants

You certainly won’t go hungry or thirsty in Newtown. There are so many places to eat and drink in the region, your biggest problem will be deciding where to go.

Newtown has one of the largest concentrations of coffee shops of all shapes and sizes in Sydney. The coffee culture is certainly alive and buzzing here. If you walk down King Street you’re going to stumble across lots of them – but Brewtow Newtown (featured above) is my personal fav. You can find it at 6-8 O’Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042 … which is just around the corner from the well-known Marlborough Hotel.

I love that Newtown offers a very multi-cultural dining scene, as such variety always makes for a great feed. Many of the restaurants are situated around King Street, Enmore Road and Australia Street, and the choice ranges from Egyptian street food to Sri Lanka Roti.

My personal favourite is Little Lagos which serves up amazing Nigerian plates, while I would also recommend Café Paci for its innovative menu of Finnish, Italian and Australian food.

Bars & Pubs

Newtown has some of the best drinking establishments in Sydney, so once you have finished your meal, or even if you just fancy a drink, I highly recommend you go to some.

You can’t beat a having a cold ale in one of the many traditional pubs in the area, especially in the beer garden of the fabulous Courthouse Hotel. I also love hitting up Union Hotel for the sheer varieties of its 22 taps that regularly rotate.

If you’re looking for something a bit more in your face, then I’d recommend the Bank Hotel (pictured above). It’s located smack-bang in the middle of Newtown on King Street. You can’t get any more centrally located than this traditional Aussie pub, and is perfect to sit and watch out the front window and do some serious people-watching – check out the sights and sounds of Newtown pass you by as you enjoy a cold Aussie beer. How good is that!?

If you are in to cocktail bars, the area is awash with them too. Earl’s Juke Joint, Jacoby’s Tiki Bar and 1989 Arcade Bar are among the best of them.

Bookshops

I am quite a voracious reader and every now and then I love scouring bookshops for my next find.

Newtown has a number of excellent bookstores to peruse. One of the best of them is Better Read Than Dead, which not only has loads of books, but also runs some very cool author events too.

I like going to Elizabeth’s as well, which is a bit of a local institution (pictured above). It’s also probably the most well known, with it first opening back in 1973. They offer brand new and secondhand books which span a huge range of subjects. They also wrap some of their books in brown paper, so you don’t know anything about it, apart from a few intriguing sentences they write about it. It’s located at 257 King St, Newtown NSW 2042. To get there, turn right on your exit from Newtown train station, and walk up King Street for about 100m (towards the City), and you’ll find it there on your left hand side. If you’re a book lover, it’s well worth a look and you never know what interesting gems you’ll uncover here.

This is deliberately done to ensure you don’t judge a book by its cover!

Live Entertainment

Newtown has a number of fabulous venues for live entertainment and over the years I have seen many brilliant concerts, comedy shows and theatre performances here.

The Enmore Theatre is an institution in Sydney’s live entertainment scene. It is one of the oldest, theatres in Australia that is still in operation. It attracts lots of big names for gigs, including the likes of Belinda Carlisle, Billy Bragg and the Violent Femmes, who are all due to play there in 2022.

If you like jazz and performance art, The Vanguard (seen above) hosts your kind of shows. If this sounds like your style of music, you’ll find The Vangaurd at the City end of King Street, closer to Sydney University. With sit-down tables and a great view of the stage, this is one of my go-to music venues for a night out with friends.

Whilst the Botany View Hotel and The Bank Hotel offer live music from local up-and-coming bands and artists.

About Me
Hi There! I’m Jamie. After travelling throughout Asia, Europe and North America, I wanted to share everything that I love about Sydney - my home town! That's why I created Sydney City Guide - join me on the adventure as I explore the beautiful city of Sydney.