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The essentials in Surry Hills

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry HillsCREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a night out at the Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

The essentials
in Surry Hills

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a night out at the Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

Surry Hills, on the fringe of the Sydney’s city centre, might feature Netflix-famous chefs and vintage stores that are celebrity hangouts, but it has low-key charms, too. There’s a cosy boutique hotel that you can book out entirely, enough specialty coffee bars to jolt you out of your mid-week slump and countless market stalls that could be hiding your next favourite fashion find. 

Check in  

There are many reasons to stay at Paramount House Hotel. The design-driven boutique hotel sits in the former Paramount Picture Studios building and has modern, stylish rooms full of character — expect a Peanuts-inspired print on the wall, rather than anonymous corporate art. The hotel shares its location with Paramount Coffee Project (which means you can order room service from this excellent café), the old Hollywood-esque Golden Age Cinema & Bar (so you can pop in for a well-curated movie screening) and the Paramount Recreation Club (head to this rooftop fitness complex to give your day an energising start).  

For something different, there’s Little Albion, where no room is the same. This century-old former convent has been updated into a pet-friendly, cosy space that’s filled with a colourful art collection. You can book a snug room for a solo traveller or, for a grand occasion, reserve the entire guesthouse. 

Eat  

Chin Chin is known for its queues and immense popularity — one guest once made a group booking nearly a whole year in advance, just to guarantee a table. The restaurant’s bright neon-pink bunny entrance is as attention-seeking as its big Thai-inspired flavours and inventive cocktails. Don’t miss weekend yum cha, where chicken dumplings with sriracha and mango custard buns are available. 

Another Surry Hills standout is Firedoor, where Lennox Hastie cooks everything over wood fire — even the butter (the smoky spread is memorably served with toasted rye and Pioik Bakery bread). The local star of the Chef’s Table: BBQ series on Netflix is known for his steak, which is aged for around 200 days, and a changing five-course menu that reflects what’s fresh and available from his artisan producers.  

Porteño’s award-winning chefs, Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, also achieve impressive results with smoke and char. Their menu has an Argentinean barbecue focus and includes skirt steak with salsa asada and chimichurri. Recent additions to the Porteño Group's Surry Hills offerings also include Humble Bakery with their nostalgic bakery classics and sandwiches, as well as Bastardo, an Italian restaurant with an old-school vibe. 

For the rustic flavours of Italy, head to Pasta Emilia for pumpkin and ricotta tortelli with truffle cream sauce and strozzapreti with organic slow-cooked beef ragú.  

Paramount Recreation Club, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

At Paramount House Hotel, you can start your morning with a rooftop workout session.

#ilovesydney

Paramount Recreation Club, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

At Paramount House Hotel, you can start your morning with a rooftop workout session.

#ilovesydney

Pasta Emilia, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Exterior view of Pasta Emilia Italian restaurant on the corner of Riley and Reservoir Street, Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Pasta Emilia, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Exterior view of Pasta Emilia Italian restaurant on the corner of Riley and Reservoir Street, Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Shop vintage 

Add some retro flair to your wardrobe — and home — at Zoo Emporium, which promises “two floors of vintage fun” inside. Here, you might score an Anthea Crawford licorice-striped dress with 1980s belt, some glamorous 1970s satin flares or classic mid-century shadow boxes for your wall. The team here has a good eye for a vintage find and has been seeking out gems for three decades now.  

At Storeroom Vintage, there’s a classic tee for every taste: from Beatles to Harley Davidson shirts. After an old embroidered Ralph Lauren jumper? Chances are you’ll find it here, too. The store’s wide-ranging collection is as diverse as its fan base (which includes celebrities like A$AP Rocky and Halsey).  

For more bargain-filled racks, head to Surry Hills Vintage Market, held on the first Saturday of the month, for more than 60 stalls worth browsing. 

Find the best coffee 

Looking for a caffeine fix? Reuben Hills features its own micro roaster and offers a menu inspired by the team’s coffee-sourcing trips in Central and South America, from chicken tortas to breakfast burritos. Sister café Paramount Coffee Project is also serious about its brews — its espresso of the day might be Everyday Coffee’s fruity Aricha single origin from Ethiopia, while the batch brew might be Wood and Co’s José Quintero filter coffee from Colombia. 

Single O offers limited-edition specials, such as the $20 cup of Rumudamo Ethiopia, its price tag reflecting its scarcity and high ranking in the Cup of Excellence program.  

For more specialty options, you’ll want to power up at Sample Coffee, Reformatory Caffeine Lab and Artificer, where knowledgeable baristas (like the award-winning Dan Yee, pictured) can talk you through the carefully sourced beans on offer.  

Zoo Emporium, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a day of shopping at Zoo Emporium, Surry Hills

#ilovesydney

Zoo Emporium, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a day of shopping at Zoo Emporium, Surry Hills

#ilovesydney

Artificer Coffee, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

People enjoying a morning coffee from Artificer Coffee in Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

Artificer Coffee, Surry Hills CREDIT: Destination NSW

People enjoying a morning coffee from Artificer Coffee in Surry Hills.

#ilovesydney

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