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Darlinghurst area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Darlinghurst

Photograph: Anna Kucera

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. 

Darlinghurst highlights

The best bars in Darlinghurst
Bars

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.

BL Burgers
Restaurants

BL Burgers

Bar Luca, what are you doing? You've opened your new burger bar right next door to Mr Crackles, Sydney's favourite late-night eating haunt. How are you going to survive with competition like that?One word: burgers. Because if there's one thing Sydney loves more than pork crackling stuffed into bread, it's burgers.BL Burgers is situated on a busy stretch of Oxford Street, and they're in the right place for late night eats. It's a long space decorated with colourful graffiti, with bars lining each wall and high stools to sit at. There's a slide at the side that they're said to throw burgers down from the kitchen up the stairs, but no such luck when we visit.But down to the important stuff: the food. There are five burgers plus a special on offer, and sure, you could have a cheeseburger, but these guys are known for their riffs on the classics, so we say order the Blame Canada instead. It's a thick, pink-centred beef patty topped with crisp, maple-glazed bacon, double American cheese, poutine (fries and cheese curds soaked in gravy) and maple aioli. There's a lot in there so you probably won't be able to tell the elements apart. But this is a bloody good burger: nubbly meat, crunchy bacon, and creamy mayo that's not overly sweet. As if we were not already persuaded by their delightful Prime Minister, we don't blame Canada; we support it.The fries we'd bypass; they're nothing special. But don't be afraid of the veggie burger, even if you're not a veggo, because it's just as good

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Gelato Messina - Darlinghurst
Shopping

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.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Mr Crackles Carryout
Restaurants

Mr Crackles Carryout

After throwing in the fine-dining towel a few years back, ex-Wharf chefs Carlos Justo and Sam Horowitz started hawking their delicious roast sandwiches at Rozelle Market. They’ve now settled in a little shopfront in Darlinghurst. You can smell the roasting pork all the way down Oxford Street. There are hotdogs, cheesy fries and salted crackling on offer, but we go straight for those roast rolls. The shop’s absolutely packed with dudes, including four huge policemen. In fact, there’s a ‘manwich’ on the menu boasting ‘twice the meat, and half the salad.' We order one, and struggle to finish it despite the tender, sweet fatty hunks of roast pork and shards of golden crackling on a chewy white roll with pickled carrot, cucumber and as much chilli as you can handle. A special of a soft white roll filled with sweet pork and salad is definitely pick of the mix – it’s like chewing a massive savoury marshmallow. Going forward – and hell yes we’ll be going back – we’d order a regular-sized roast pork roll. You’re far less likely to go into a porky torpor that way.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars