This swathe of the inner east is a seething hub of creativity. Sure, there are more wannabes and waifish model types than you can shake an organic chai latte at, but it’s also abundantly full of artfully-stocked fashion boutiques, funky homewares stores and organic cafés that take people watching to a new level of voyeurism. (Nikki Wallman)
To kick off, try the ricotta hotcakes at iconic Bills (359 Crown St); follow the locals to fouratefive (485 Crown St) or Reuben Hills (61 Albion St), where the salted caramel and black sesame shakes are the stuff of legend; or go healthy with organic eggs and fruit juice blends at celeb favourite Kawa (348 Crown St).
Head further down Crown for The Standard Store’s (503 Crown St) rare US and Euro labels and The Collector Store’s (473 Crown St) gorgeous silk shirts from Equipment, flirty pieces from Something Else and great men’s gear. Pick up kooky, brightly coloured Mexican bric-a-brac at Holy Kitsch (321 Crown St), or pop into One Teaspoon (507 Crown St) for bikinis and beachy/street staples.
Surry Hills Markets (Shannon Reserve, Crown St) are on the first Saturday of the month – nab cheap-as-chips designer labels in great condition and perfectly worn-in vintage tees before heading up to the sun-drenched balcony at The Clock hotel next door for a tasty pub lunch.
Down the road, The Winery (258 Crown St) is perfect for cocktails or chilled vinos in the quirky brick-and-blooms setting.
To explore Darlinghurst, check out Désordre (323 South Dowling St) for sophisticated yet sexy threads from Josh Goot, Dion Lee and Ellery. If you’re feeling risqué, venture into babylikestopony (319 South Dowling St) for silk knickers, erotic masks, blindfolds and… well… just check it out. From here it’s a quick walk to The Victoria Room (235 Victoria St) for high tea in opulent, British-Raj surrounds; or to Pocket Bar (13 Burton St) for an espresso martini against the pop-art backdrop.
Move on to dinner at super-popular mod-Asian restaurant Miss G’s (155 Victoria St); or for a more intimate dinner or drinks, try new Potts Point offering Monopole (71A Macleay St). The house-made charcuterie is silky, melt-in-your-mouth-good, and the salt cod with green peas and mint vinaigrette is fresh, zippy and elegant – pair it with one of the 500-plus wines on offer, some exclusive to Monopole.
Kicking on? Make like the rest of Sydney’s socialites and get thyself to Hugos (33 Bayswater Rd), an oasis of elegance in ‘lively’ Kings Cross.