The razors have been blunted in Sydney’s former centre of sex, drugs and crime. Now, lanes where you once dared not walk are home to bars you’d kill to get into – shady little places at the forefront of the city’s small bar movement like Love Tilley Devine and the hidden-if-not-very-small Shady Pines and Cliff Dive. And there’s always old favourites like the Darlo.
There's also a huge range of small commercial art galleries, high end furniture shops and a very respectable theatre.
Food in the blocks between Oxford Street and the Cross has also picked up – Victoria Street is choc-a-block with great eats and home to Sydney’s most popular ice cream shop in Messina – and you’ll find one of Sydney’s thinnest, most perfectly crisp (and ruthlessly authentic) pizzas at Lucio.
Despite lockout laws causing venues to close their doors at 1.30am, Oxford Street is still home to plenty of gay bars, and hipster gig venue of choice, Oxford Art Factory. Darlo can still be as shady as it ever was. The difference now is, you can do it with a bit of style... and get the best pork roll going when you need that 4am stomach-filler.
The best bars in Darlinghurst
In Darlinghurst you're spoiled for choice when it comes to excellent boozing options. Maybe you feel like nautical cocktails and a lobster burger? Or would a Boilermaker and a bowl of monkey nuts suit you better? The one thing we can all agree on, surely, is that when top notch cocktails are the order of the day, you want a five star bar with the best in the business mixing your drinks. You can find in all in this boozy pocket of the East.
Gelato Messina - Darlinghurst
If you're used to ordering a misto plate and receiving cured meats, think again before you try Messina. In fact, think of a completely different part of the cow. Here, the only language they speak is ice cream, and with five scoops for $12 it makes for quite the delicious dialect. Don't limit yourself to the usual suspects (although a scoop each of white and malted chocolate makes a good alternative to plain old chocolate and vanilla). Instead choose from flavours like apple pie, yoghurt, cassata and blood orange. Hey, it's hard to go wrong when you get five attempts at a good scoop.