Balmain area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Balmain

Photograph: Anna Kucera

Everybody knows the story of good ol' Balmain, the former working class borough that became a gentrified haven for every bendy yoga mum and her Bugaboo. (We suspect most Balmain folk these days wouldn't know what a "Balmain Tigers" was let alone support them). But along with gentrification has come one of the most vibrant food scenes in Sydney.

We here at Time Out can think of few better sounds than the crunch of a Victoire loaf, the whir of an espressso machine at the Little Marionette or the sigh of delight when you bite into one of those Zumbo macarons - yes, the Zumbo legend was born in a sliver of a store of Darling Street. At the end of Darling lies one of the best views of the Harbour at the super convenient ferry terminal.

The best of Balmain

The best pubs in Balmain

The best pubs in Balmain

Balmain is one of the most pub-dense suburbs in Sydney, thanks to its proud working class history as a working wharf and the place where the Australian Labor Party got their start. But times have changed and Balmain is now a well-heeled neck of the woods and many corner boozers have become homes and boutiques. However there are plenty of watering holes left for when you have a thirst that only a well-poured beer can quench, and these are our top picks.

The best ferry trips in Sydney
Things to do

The best ferry trips in Sydney

The jewel in Sydney’s crown is its harbour – always has been, always will be. This love affair with the crushed sapphire liquid expanse of the Harbour dates back many, many thousands of years to when the Gadigal people of central Sydney paddled their canoes around the bays, into the coves and across the open seas in search of fish or en route to ceremonial sites or neighbouring settlements. Today, those journeys of discovery are provided by Sydney Ferries. Indeed, no trip to Sydney would be complete without clambering aboard one of the picture-postcard green-and-yellow ferries that ply their trade much as they have for the past century-and-a-half. More than 14 million people cross Sydney Harbour by ferry every year, chugging out from the main hub of Circular Quay to head west up the Parramatta River, north on the legendary voyage to Manly or east to Watsons Bay. It’s a well-known fact that when Sydneysiders want to drink and dine in Balmain, shop in Double Bay, sightsee at Taronga Zoo or camp convict-style at Cockatoo Island, a Sydney ferry is the way forward. All up, there are 28 ferries (from the stately old-schoolers Freshwater, Lady, First Fleet models to the sleek, fast catamaran fleet of RiverCats, HarbourCats and SuperCats) connecting Sydneysiders with 29 wharves across 37km of harbour. All offer spectacular views and plenty of room on deck to soak up what is arguably the cheapest, coolest and most quintessential local experience of all. Here are Time Out’s six f