Area guide: Surry Hills

Nothing projects "hidden secrets" quite like Surry Hills. It's a suburb where you are spoiled for choice in where to eat, drink and shop and nothing is quite what it seems.

Cafés hide stylish boutiques and milkshake stands conceal speakeasy bars. It takes a well-travelled foot to uncover all that Surry Hills offers, but don't worry – we've got you covered.

Surry Hills Coffee Guide


Inner-city dwellers thrive on good coffee and aesthetically-pleasing places in which to drink it. Warehouse-cum-espresso haven Paramount Coffee Project is the go-to place for locals with an ever changing blend of top quality roasts and passionate baristas. High ceilings, industrial design and not a Comic-Sans menu in sight.

Surry Hills Breakfast


All day breakfast comes in exquisite form at Reuben Hills, where a Central and South American-inspired menu offers everything from 'Mulled Wine Poached Pear' to 'Really fucking great fried chicken'. They have a sense of humour and they're not afraid to use it. If you're just passing through, wander down to the Bourke Street Bakery, the first bakery in history to develop a cult following off the back of brioche and pain au chocolat.

Surry Hills Shopping


The tradition of confusion continues into Surry Hills' thriving retail sector, where you can buy a pair of Nudie Jeans Co denim as well as a provolone croissant at The Stables Cafe. For one-off pieces, head to the monthly fashion markets at The Winery, where specially invited bloggers and stylists sell their second-hand wares. ImageSource

Surry Hills Drinks


A non-descript door, a line down the street – these are the marks of a Surry Hills secret. The Soda Factory deals in hot dogs and milkshakes (the alcoholic kind) in a hidden bar off Wentworth Avenue. Head down on Tuesdays for Dollar Dogs and live music, which is worth every bit of the Wednesday morning hangover. Further up the hill is Tio's, the so-tacky-it's-cool Guatemalan owl bar. 'Tio' is Spanish slang for 'dude', which tells you almost everything you need to know. Every weekend you'll find a heaving crowd washing down tequila shots and tinned beer, surrounded by Mexican Catholic shrines and giant neon crabs (trust us – the decor works). Stay till close and the bearded bar staff will toss you bags of spicy popcorn as a parting gift.

Surry Hills Dining Out


When a burger joint in a city awash with burger joints is named 'Sydney's Best Burger', you sit up and take notice. That sought-after title belongs to Chur Burger, a hidden eatery in the back streets of Surry Hills that has the locals queuing down the street. (Don't worry, it's a fast moving line.) Choose one of six $10 staples, ranging from classic beef to spiced chickpea fritter, or sample their frequently changing one-off specials. In the mood for an after-dinner treat? Wander up the hill to Gelato Messina on Crown Street for proof that gelato might not change the world, but it will change the dining habits of Sydney forever. ImageSource

Surry Hills: more than just a pretty (street-snapped) face.

Alex Bruce-Smith

Alex Bruce-Smith is a publisher at, taking care of shopping & travel. She funds her addiction to online shopping by hunting coupon codes like a pro, and can usually be found waiting anxiously for a package to arrive. #notevensorry

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