A trip to Sydney isn’t complete without a visit to Newtown. Just a stone-throw away from the CBD and unknown to most first-time visitors, King Street features some of the most culturally and artistically rich experiences. Notorious for the peculiar characters who make up the community, Newtown has developed it’s very own subculture with an essence of vintage stores, vegan friendly restaurants and eclectic shops waiting to be explored. While new establishments are popping up everyday, the local treasures include Dendy’s cinema, showing the latest indie flicks, Enmore theatre who often host a smorgasbord of local and international talent, and bars such as Websters with an awesome rooftop beer garden overlooking King Street and Marly Bar which is perfect for a Friday night boogie. Oh, and it’s got its very own button shop. Simply, every aspect of this unique suburb is bursting with flair and alternative charm. We recommend starting at either end of King Street and working your way up and down both sides. Make sure not to head on a Monday too, as most places are closed. Down below are places you can’t miss, so make sure to leave plenty of time to hit every gem with ample time.
- The Wilde Merchant – 500 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
If you’re looking for something truly unique, this is the store that won’t disappoint. Specialising in clothing sourced from different corners of the globe comes an eclectic vintage store with a vast selection of pieces from different eras and cultures. Owners Jordan Bayliss and Sebastian Wilde have their fair share of experience in the vintage arena, making appearances at popular Sydney markets, running multiple ‘Wilde’ branded stores and even hand picking and restoring artisan style furniture. So whether you’re in the market for a 1950’s American bowling shirt or traditional Japanese Kimono, check out the Wilde Merchant where every item is bursting with battered charm.
- U Turn Recycled Fashion – 286 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Eco-Fashion Warriors U-Turn are leading the fight against the fast fashion industry with their upcycle / recycle initiative. With multiple stores across Sydney selling quality recycled clothing, you can feel good about your purchase while looking good too. Find pre-loved designer brands alongside retro gems at their vintage store or head to their contemporary chain geared for the modern day fashionista.
- Vintage @ 313 – 313 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
One of the biggest thrift shops in Sydney, this two-story bonanza is a must visit, packed to the brim with the most detailed collections and styles from the modern era. Upon entering, you honestly won’t know where to start, however the organisation makes sorting through each section a breeze. From colour coordinated tees or collections of retro Adidas gear from the 90’s to every cut, wash and size of Levis, Vintage @ 313 is your ultimate thrift shop stop.
- The Stitch Up – 583 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Possibly the coolest place in Sydney, The Stitch Up dedicates its existence to 90’s and 2000’s nostalgia, straying away from retailer norms, on a mission to create a community-based store where you can have a chat, enjoy a quick game of street fighter and maybe grab some retro threads on your way out. With 2000’s fashion making a comeback on Sydney streets, there isn’t a better place to find the rarest sneakers, sportswear flaunting swooshes or stripes and vintage designer brands (for you lads out there) all in one awesome spot.
- Irreplaceable Store – 475 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
With a window stacked full of classic Air Jordans, you won’t be able to walk past without sneaking a quick peek inside. Styled perfectly with a grungy mix of 90’s space jam shirts and classic band tees, The Irreplaceable store is most popular for their sneaker ties. Whether you’re on the hunt for the latest drops or limited edition, one-of-a-kind kicks, you’re sure to find some head turners here!
Bars & Breweries
- Earl’s Juke Joint – 407 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
One of the only speakeasy bars in Newtown, Earl’s Juke Joint is masqueraded as the previous owners, Betta Meats which hides the saloon style cocktail bar, serving a robust drinks list mixed mainly from bourbon and rum. In tribute to the historic establishments popularised in the south and named after Earl Palmer, a drummer from New Orleans known for his creation of the backbeat in rock’n’roll, comes the perfect mixture of rustic decor and swinging tunes that will have you dancing and singing all night long.
- Mountain Goat Brewery – 435 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Hailing from Richmond, Melbourne comes a brewery packed with deliciously handcrafted beers, including 12 on tap and an ever changing ‘Randall’. What is a Randall you ask? Simply put, an infuser device which allows GOAT to combine different flavours with their O.G recipes and guarantees a new taste every time you visit. You may recognise their signature brew, found in cans and stubbies at your local bottle shop and marketed as ‘very enjoyable beer’. This lends itself to its name GOAT (greatest of all time) and proves accurate as you sink can after can. Enjoy a tasting paddle for the best experience, ask their friendly staff to assist in picking the few that are best suited to your pallet.
- 1989 Arcade Bar – 22-24 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Beer, classic arcade games and pizza all in one place? Often when it sounds too good to be true, it is. Unless you’re at 1989 Arcade Bar! With its range of craft beers and ciders extending over 40+ and unique cocktails tasted and named with gamer specifications, you can be sure to enjoy an evening that sends you back in time. Whether you unearth your competitive side after losing 6 straight games of Mortal Kombat or join forces with your rival to investigate a zombie outbreak in The House of The Dead 2, you can be guaranteed an entertaining, albeit slightly frustrating night out at 1989.
- Young Henry’s – 76 Wilford St, Newtown NSW 2042
Proudly sourced and based in Newtown, comes a brewery centered around core values of music, art, culture and community. Founded by Richard Adamson and Oscar McMahon in 2012, Young Henrys has since grown from brewing simple, easy to drink beers, to cloudy ciders and top shelf gin. Their most popular brew ‘Newtowner’ pays homage to where it all began and is a must-try, along with beer tasting paddles to make finding your favourite brew a cinch.
Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants
- The Lonely Mouth – 275 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042
First on the list is RaRa Ramens plant-based chain, The Lonely Mouth, bringing Japanese soul food back on Vegan radars. If you’ve ever travelled to Japan as a vegetarian or vegan, you’d know that phytophagous diets aren’t really a thing. In fact, while travelling as a vegan, I was laughed out of almost every restaurant. This is why The Lonely Mouth is so special. Taking a page from their signature recipe, the thin Hakata-style noodles are made in house along with hemp seed and sunflower based broths that taste just as creamy and buttery as their secret tonkotsu. Just when you thought that was enough to make a booking, they introduce vegan izakaya delights including a must-try cauliflower karaage. Needless to say, you don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy the first of its kind, fully plant-based Japanese menu that would bring comfort to any lonely mouth.
- Lentil As Anything – 391 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
“It’s a business doing pleasure with you”. Founder and restaurateur Shanaka Fernando built his chain of cooperative style, not-for-profit restaurants where you pay-as-you-feel on the philosophy of social cohesion and inclusion. Visitors are able to receive a delicious, healthy meal in return for gifts, skills or monetary donations. Not only are Shanaka’s values so rare, but the restaurant does well to highlight the ongoing social and economic barriers faced in national and global society. Thanks to the generosity of volunteers and bountiful donations made from visitors, Lentil As Anything has been operating (not without its hardships) and serving those most in need. So for a hearty meal that will leave you full in the head and the heart, head to Lentil As Anything for a meal you can feel good about.
- Golden Lotus – 341 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Another epicly perfected take on Asian cuisine is Golden Lotus, specialising in fresh, healthy, meat free Vietnamese dishes packed with flavour and of course, spice! Recommended dishes start with authentic Pho, Laksa soups and char-grilled Vegan Pork Skewers. For a more street food feel, summer rice paper rolls and vegan duck pancakes make the perfect starters or sides for an extra hungry human.
- Gigi Pizzeria – 379 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Who knew you could have pizza without the cheese? At Gigi Pizzeria, traditional Italian flavours are cherished and enhanced with fresh produce, reminiscent of true Neapolitan style pizza, only without a single animal byproduct. They are also proud members of the AVPN (‘Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana’) and adhere to the traditional Napoli style which includes hand-stretched dough and woodfire bake methodology. How’s that for guilt free pizza!
- Newtown Garden Market – 538 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
A small nursery geared to greenifying the concrete jungle. Specialising in small gardens and indoor plants, the team at Garden Market cater to all crowds, from guilt-ridden plant killers who are better paired with cacti to experienced green thumbs looking to knock out a large project in one haul. The garden itself is also a wonderful stop for those taking a sun inspired, leisurely stroll through Newtown, which may end in a good chat or a brand-new addition to your non-existent plant family.
- Repressed Records – 413 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Overplayed your favourite Spotify playlist, or sick of the same 10 songs rotating on the radio? Eventually we all need to do some soul searching for new tunes, and there’s no better place to start than Repressed Records. Here you will find the best collection of original tracks and new releases from local artists all around the nation, recorded on premium vinyl and a guaranteed pleasurable auditory experience.
- Blue Dog Posters – 311 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Reining as the largest poster shop in Australia, Blue Dog Posters is the perfect place to geek out. With over 7000 prints on book, no matter your obsession, Blue Dog will have something to don the walls and make any space authentically yours. From classic movies to the latest pop sensation, the muscular system to times tables, or even a piece from Van Goh or Hokusai that will actually be in your budget. But that’s not all, Blue Dog also aces the small gift market with unique products including puzzles of movie posters, cross stitching kits and even friends themed doormats.
- Elizabeth’s Bookshop – 257 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
It doesn’t get more Newtown than Elizabeth’s Book Shop. Home to the original ‘blind date with a book’ novels are wrapped in brown paper and given small details for the readers to know. These make awesome gifts for book lovers or may help even the most indecisive lock in a good read in the nick of time. Their eclectic collection of new and secondhand books includes everything from Australian history, arts and culture to vintage magazines and first editions.
- Pete’s Musicians Market – 494 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Whether you’re in need of some new gear or are just browsing, you’re always welcome at Pete’s Musicians Market. Operating in Newtown for over 25 years, you’ll find some of the best new and secondhand instruments along with a mesmerizing guitar-filled wall that will make anyone want to shred like a pro. They also provide top repair services that you can trust and have exceptional staff that aren’t only knowledgeable but are down to share some of their favourite artists along with fond memories.
Hitting all these locations in one day would be tricky, so if you’re strapped for time, pick a few on the list rather than trying to see them all. If you’re here to stay, make sure to become a frequent visitor as you will most likely find something new and invigorating every time to check in!
Think we missed something? Let us know what your favourite spot is in Newtown!