There's more to Manly than the beach and the bars (although both of those things come highly recommended). When you wander off the Northern Beaches' suburbs well-trod mainstreet, you'll find a growing number of independent boutiques, antique stores and other knick knack sellers, as well as killer spots to pick out a sun hat or cossi to wear back out onto the Corso.
Shops in Manly
We didn’t anticipate finding a collection of baby gasmasks so appealing – nor, for that matter, a pair of polio prosthetics – but, as we found ourselves inside the new warehouse from vintage and antiques collectors Apostlebird there was a strong sense of fascination with the metal juvenile legs dangling from the beams. The new store, sitting inside a former section of the motor garage off Lakeside Crescent in North Manly, is not like other Sydney antique store. Unlike the provincial French furniture dealers and the Rockabilly outfitters of the Inner West, this store has an air of something far more macabre.
Containing a curated collection of fashionable pieces, Bow & Arrow is the baby of Natasha ‘Tash’ Ianni – a woman who knows how to style both herself and her laneway store. Scarves by artist Natalie Martin are displayed on the walls like masterpieces, and summer dresses from Romance Was Born are hanging from the racks with all the majesty of a red carpet dressing-room. There are lip paints from brand Fat and the Moon and leather wallets from Spanish label Steve Mono, plus we’re pretty sure this is the only beachside shop where you can pick up Valiance jewellery, Chronicles of Never footwear and Rachel Comey slacks – all in the same room. Not to mention the homewares from In Bed and Le Feu De L’Eau.
Crinkled covers of classic books couldn’t find better bedfellows than retro vinyl and a glass of Merlot. Thankfully, the Whistler Street bookshop Desire Books and Records know that good things come in threes, which is why they’ve expanded their reach beyond literary fiction to monthly music and poetry events (wine included) and a partnership with former Camperdown store Pigeon Ground. Since closing the Camperdown nest, the Pigeon Ground crew had been on the hunt for their next location for months before collaboration with Manly’s revered bookstore was on the cards. It was the perfect fit. Since September 2015, shoppers are now greeted with boxes of black gold from the Beatles’ Help! to the Supremes’ A’ Go-Go, with records selling from $20-$50.
A sister store to Manly’s Mr & Mrs Smith, found in the same Rialto Square precinct, this pocket-sized shop is big on Australian fashion designers – and they have been for ten years. They’ve got Dion Lee’s Main Line II collection, Ellery, Camilla & Marc, Gary Bigeni’s floating, oversized shirts and lacy numbers from Lover. At the wallet-friendly end of the spectrum McLean & Page has a beautiful range of linen and cotton pieces from Vanishing Elephant and Bassike, too. As for accessories and gifts, they’ve got handmade leather handbags from Sydney-based maker the Goods, delectable (and almost edible) jewellery from Melbourne’s Lucy Folk and locally made candles from Maison Balzac. Time Out’s top tip: seek out the silk jumpsuits and linen shirt dresses from Australian up-and-comer Yasmin Raquel. Her style is Japanese-inspired and designed for stylish coastal living – and if that’s not Manly in a sentence, we’ll eat our fashionable hats.
Named for the owner’s two sons, Sammy & Sid is a second-hand boutique made from a lot of love. Owner Doriana likes to know as much as possible about her shoppers to guide them through what she has in stock. From the $10-and-up suitcase near the till to the embellished dresses and genuine vintage threads out back, Doriana knows what’s going to fit and she’ll pick out items to add to your changing room pile. The store stocks second-hand fashion, so there’s lots to tempt thrift-shoppers looking to bag a bargain. We find a near-new electric blue jumpsuit from Zara for under $200 and a ’90s romper for under $100. Doriana’s top tip is to follow her pages on social media as she’ll post the latest boho dresses or Prada handbag so regulars know when to drop in. If Australian designers are what you’re looking for, you’re in luck. Sammy & Sid gets frequent drops of Alex Perry, Lisa Ho, Camilla, Sass & Bide, Camilla & Marc and Simona – an iconic label of days gone by.
The light-filled corner store is often busy with first-time homeowners looking to get that clean-lined, functional-but-fun look in their apartments. The Modern Furniture Store has partnered with Finnish brand Marimekko, so there are affordable and colourful items in store like cushion covers, tea towels and oven mits, all under $50. For those looking to make a fast impression, there are Bristol desk lamps and Darcy table lamps for around $100, and big-ticket items include beech wood three-seater sofas, minimalist writers’ desks and ottomans. The owners know that furniture isn’t something you purchase every day, so they welcome bums on leather armchairs and fingers running over elm wood coffee tables, and when you have the funds they’ll deliver to most locations in Australia.
The concept at this men’s surf and leisure store, says shopkeeper Taylor, is that they only sell one clothing label at a time. During Time Out’s visit, they’re championing Banks – a local label that has American, Japanese and Manly roots. It’s quite the global mix, and their eclectic style includes khaki pants and stone-coloured board shorts as well as basic T-shirts. Accessories aren’t limited to one brand, so men of the Northern Beaches and beyond can pick up hair gel from Uppercut, cotton beach towels and felt Fedoras from Fallen Broken Street. Clothing aside, the Shop Next Door is a top spot for a new surfboard – they’ve got over 150 in store. Stop in for a long black at the coffee shop in the same store, and the staff will be happy to help you pick out a new wetsuit.
Outside you’ll see potted succulents in concrete planters and a cluster of beachside plants that look like they could weather an ocean storm. Friendly-faced Kye Carqueville, creative director at White House Flowers, welcomes browsers through the doors and is on-hand to help the indecisive with their choice of floral bouquet. On our visit, there are lilies and blush-pink roses, orange tulips and proud cerise orchids. In addition to the fresh blooms, you’ll find shelves of copper pots and treats from Winnow Chocolates, as well as pastel planters and macramé hanging gardens. Perfect if you’re looking to add something extra to that gift or home purchase.