Chippendale is very possibly Sydney’s worst kept secret. A veritable phoenix from the flames, it has come a long way from the working-class roots of brewery-workers and dilapidated housing from the 1900s.
Once a poor and undesirable neighbourhood, this quirky suburb now packs a mighty punch as one of Sydney’s most burgeoning arts enclaves and hip hangouts. Today, this eclectic and vibrant area is spilling over with coffee shops, boutiques, art galleries and more, with a literal juxtaposition of high art and street art, terraces and high-rises. You will never be short of ways to fill your mind and spend your time.
With Sydney University to the west and Central Station to the east, it is little surprise that the streets of Chippendale are bustling with a healthy student cohort alongside a well-heeled white-collar crowd of young professionals. Reflecting the creative hue that pervades the streets you will find artists and baristas rubbing shoulders with backpackers and chefs, everybody loving the inner-city location and excellent transport links. It’s a must-have address for any creative worth their salt, and this contemporary blend adds to the creative fusion that has made Chippendale the cool destination it is today.
WHAT TO DO?
Chippendale is brimming with art galleries and exhibitions. Don’t miss out on the White Rabbit showing contemporary Chinese art with two exhibitions a year. Galerie Pompom represents Sydney and Melbourne-based artists with sound, video and installations competing for attention alongside the paintings. For a more local affair, step in to Pine Street Creative Arts Centre where you can partake in creative workshops, creative classes and exhibitions alike. When you’re done with absorbing the arts scene, don’t sit down because Chippendale has so much more to offer. Try The Chippo Hotel for comedy nights, live music and trivia, or Knox Street Bar for some life drawing, burlesque and storytelling. Trawl the streets for one-off boutique bargains and take some time to peek down alleyways at the incredible street art. Kickstart that weekend feeling with a European pastry and some Mecca coffee at Brickfields with the papers, or let loose and spend up the allowance at Central Park Mall. Stock up on organic goodies at Brewery Yard Markets, or duck in to one of the many cafés on Kensington Street for lunch – it has come a long way from being declared ‘totally unfit’ for human habitation in 1859. The opportunities are fantastically endless.
WHERE TO GO?
When the sun goes down in Chippendale, the nightlife is only just beginning. Foodies will love Kensington Street Social from London Chef Jason Atherton at the bottom of the newly refurbished The Old Clare Hotel. Or check out award-winning Sicilian fare at Olio housed in The Old Rum Store, with views across Chippendale. For a more casual affair sneak into Spice Alley where you’ll find six hawker-style eateries, from Vietnamese street food to Thai and Malaysian. It’s a cashless environment so have your cards at the ready. When you’re ready for a drink, there’s no cooler place to hang out than Gin Lane – a small bar with a big draw card. Featuring ambient lighting and décor it perfectly recaptures the feel of London in times gone by. Prefer your cocktails in a converted warehouse? Head right over to Freda’s where the list, and the company will not disappoint. For that unplanned schooner that may or may not continue in to the small hours, it’s hard to ignore The Lord Gladstone keeping it refreshingly simple with pub classics.
OUT AND ABOUT
Situated just minutes from Chinatown, the CBD, Newtown, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, it’s time to ditch the car and use the extensive network of buses, trains and cycle-paths to get around. Living in Chippendale, there is much to see on foot alone and with Central Station around the corner the city is there for you to explore. Sun-bake on the beaches in just 40 minutes or head out to the bush for a weekend away, the choice is yours.
Chippendale is a fantastically well-positioned hub from which to explore the city – the trouble is you may never want to leave. The secret is out.