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Aug 11, 2009 07:32 PM

Which neighborhood to stay in (Sydney)? Pubs, cheap eats, public transport


I'll be visiting in November, staying in Sydney for roughly a week. What neighborhood (or two--I don't mind jumping around a little) would you suggest for someone like me? I'm 26, from NY, and am looking for local/ethnic places (including things I couldn't find in NYC), cheaper mom & pop restaurants, pubs rather than overly dressy clubs, and all-hours transportation to/from night life.

This is almost a general tourism question, except that food/drinks and access thereto are a huge priority for me. I've done quite a bit of research--and Darlinghurst and Potts Point seem like pretty reasonable choices--but the books I have leave a bit to be desired. I can't seem to get a feel for the neighborhoods.


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  1. Darlinghurst is a nice choice. The 'problem' you have is that most people in Sydney don't live in the inner suburbs. And the less money you have, the further out you live - so quality, inexpensive, ethnic food is found way out of the CBD eg Iraqi in Fairfield, Chinese in Burwood, Vietnamese in Bankstown. But you probably wouldn't choose to stay there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mr_gimlet

      exactly - but I think if you are looking for not expensive stay near Central train station because you can walk to a lot of good food from there and take train and all the buses sort of go through there. It is a lot of youth hostel level, but I think there is also a few steps above that. I think Potts Pt is sort of a hassle to get to -but maybe because of where I live. king's cross has nightlife, but maybe not such great food.

      Close to central is good thai food, and you are close to several different asian cuisines, and nightlife is all walkable from there. and cabs are reasonable and not so hard to find, for the most part.

      There are amazing night buses after the trains stop running, the run about once an hour and stop at all the train stations. I like Jasmin - lebanese food near the Lakemba train station. and vietnamese in Banktown is good. but I wouldn't stay there or go there for nightlife. I like Newtown nightlife.

      1. re: debbieann

        Id second Debbie Ann's Newtown choice for you. ALot of people your age and good bars pubs etc - quite lively. Perhaps doesnt have all the ethnic food choices you may be looking for 0 but then again I dont think your going to get the same variety of food that you will get comin gfrom NY. THere is a train station down there if needed - but taxis may be mroe convineiant for you - its not too far from CBD inner east, although the road can get jammed at times

    2. Darlinghurst/Potts Point/Surry Hills are a good choice. Close to the city and public transport, really good variety of nightlife and food (have to disagree with DebbieAnn as Potts Point has some great food, e.g Jimmy Liks, Bootleg Bar + Italian food, lotus, Fratelli Paradiso etc).
      You'll find that Potts Point is a bit Soho/West Village, Surry Hills is a bit East Village, and Darlinghurst is in between.

      Newtown is also a great option, close to the city, lot's of great food. Lot's of students as there is Sydney University on the doorstep, meaning lot's of cheap eats and bars.

      1. Newtown or Surry Hills would be my suggestions

        Darlinghurst/Kings X would also be OK

        I always think Newtown is a bit like NYC's East Village (as is Surry Hills), though Newtown seems to shut down by about 10pm

        Darlo/Kings X would definitely be open all night

        1. Thanks, everyone. So it sounds like Surry/Potts/Newtown/Darlinghurst are all at least viable options; and I can split my time up and stay in 2 out of those 4.

          I'm not familiar with the scope of the city (again, something that the guidebooks don't explain very well). Are all of these (except for Newtown, I assume) pretty walkable from/to the city's center?

          Also- do you guys have something along the lines of a yelp.com for Sydney?

          Thanks again

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cheese Cheesely


            Darlinghurst & Surry Hills are more walkable from the CBD than Newtown or Potts Pt/Kings X

            I kinda think Sydney CBD is pretty crap though, and would expect that if you stayed in Darlo or Surry Hills, you'd hang out there rather than go into the CBD (except maybe for touristy stuff like the Bridge & Opera Hse)

            1. re: Onara

              I agree with you Onara - once you do the rocks/bridge/operahouse trifecta unless you want to shop for luxury labels there doesn't seem to be a lot going on in the cbd proper. Although Hyde park is a fairly lovely place to while away a sunny afternoon.

              It would be worthwhile investing in a weekly red pass. It'll set you back about thirty dollars (AU) but allows you unlimited travel across trains/ferries/buses in the red zone. http://www.cityrail.info/tickets/comm....

          2. Cheese,

            Sure, those options are all viable (great even).. but they are also much of a muchness..

            i would personally recommend staying in one inner city locale (surry hills, potts point, darlo are all considered inner city). I reckon Darlinghurst is best for it's proximity to the city and the best selection of public transport (close to kings cross train, short walk to city, paddington, surry hills, and regular buses)

            I'd also strongly recommend staying at Bondi Beach/Bronte/Tamarama for part of your stay. It'll be November here, and beautiful - regardless of whether you like the beach or not.. the eastern suburbs are where it's at come summertime. Truly, it's what i would recommend to someone i wanted to have a great time in Sydney (and its only about 10 mins away from city by taxi). Lots of great bars, so you'll be able to stay put and explore the area well.

            I've been to NY three times in the past 2 two years and, well, i don't think there's anything you can't get there. ...except busy, raucous, casual pubs and their pub 'grub'.

            My faves:
            - The Four in Hand, Paddington
            - North Bondi RSL
            - Grand National, Paddington (quieter)
            - Roast night at Sticky bar - http://tablefor20.blogspot.com/
            - The Shakespeare
            - The Local Taphouse, (http://www.thelocal.com.au/theLocalSy...


            Other great eats for a new yorker in sydney

            Fish mongers- fish n chips
            Sabbaba - felafel
            Gelbisons- mom n pop italian joint
            Gertrude & Alice- chai and wholesome food
            The Flying Squirrel- tapas

            City/Darlinghurst/Surry Hills
            Mamak, City centre- Malaysian
            The Falconer, Darlinghurst-diner/bar
            Kawa, Surry Hills-cafe
            Emon, surry hills- japanese
            Pizze e Birre
            Yulli's- vegetarian
            Marigolds- yum cha
            Maya Indian Sweets - definitely not just sweets

            Pastizzi Cafe (at night it turns into a pasta bar)
            Correlli's- late night cafe
            Buzz bar- late night cafe

            3 Replies
            1. re: teacup

              Wow--thanks for all of the detail. I'm definitely not opposed to spending some time at the beach. I'm also going to Cairns. You don't think it would be redundant to stay at Bondi, do you?

              1. re: Cheese Cheesely

                I think it would be redundant to stay at Bondi in November if you're hoping to swim in the ocean

                I'd expect the water temperature then to still be around 18-19C, and it's not uncommon to have overcast, windy rainy days in November either

                Most years, the ocean doesn't start warming up until some time in December (and that's when people in Sydney usually begin their holidays too)

                And the bars & eateries are better in Surry Hills/Darlinghurst/etc., IMHO

                1. re: Cheese Cheesely

                  It depends, mate. A lot of oz is coastal, and i personally think all of our beach cities are very different. I guess you know instinctively whether you favor that sort of vibe, or not. Bondibeach, tamarama, bronte, are fun and beautiful.. but you could certainly head there for a day visit - do a coastal walk (an hour or so) to bronte and back, hit up the beach road pub & north bondi rsl.. and call it a day. I think i'm just biased because i live in bondi!

                  No, we don't use yelp or anything similar- far as i know- It's a real shame. Citysearch Sydney may be the closest thing to it
                  http://urbanwalkabout.com/sydney/ may be useful for shopping/food suggestions.