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Newtown may not be the staunchly counter-culture hub it once was, but the indie spirit that defines the area is still proudly displayed in every aspect of this tight-knit village. King Street might be sporting a few more high street brands than it did a decade ago, but for the most part, Newtown's shopping precinct is a mixed bag of boutique hair salons, local designers, record stores, assorted vintage, piercing studios, and book shops. It's the sort of place that has merch, be it the Newtown Jets emblazoned on a trucker cap, or a tee from any number of local bars that inspire full-throated allegiance.
King Street is famous for it's densely clustered offering of bars, restaurants, café and pubs, from cheap student dining offering pad Thai for under a tenner, to high-end restaurants from celebrated chefs.
If Bondi is a morning town, Newtown is where people come after dark. Whether you're after a knees-up, a hot date, a pre-show bevvie or dinner after the credits have rolled, Newtown has a perch for every variety of night owl.
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What’s Newtown known for
The University of Sydney is just up the road from Newtown, and students make up a big part of the area’s identity, from the rowdy mid-week pub crawls to the famously cheap lunchtime Thai specials. Newtown is also a proudly left-leaning area – the state member for Newtown is Greens MP Jenny Leong. Newtown is an after hours area: it’s all about the nightlife, from killer bars and breweries to restaurants, performance venues and King Street’s long roll call of pubs, which have been crucial to Sydney’s live music scene.
Why do the locals love it
Pasan Wijesena has lived in the area for 15 years and owns two local bars, Earl’s Juke Joint and Jacoby’s. He reckons that no matter how popular, and increasingly expensive, Newtown gets, it’ll never lose that slightly grungy quality that he loves about it. “I like the no bullshit, laid-back attitude of people here, from students all the way through to the elderly people who have lived here all their lives. There’s an artist and muso identity that’s part of the character of the place. It has a villagey atmosphere, you run into people you know on the street and being a business owner, I have seen how supportive people are of each other.
How do I get to Newtown? Newtown has a train station on the T2 Leppington Line, or you can get a bus down King Street which is a major thoroughfare serviced by the 422, 423, 426, 428, 370, 355 and 352 routes. If you’re driving there’s always plenty of parking to be found on the side streets
Newtown is at the heart of a closely packed hub of Inner West suburbs that pride themselves on their gently counter-culture, arty, rainbow spirit. Erskineville, Darlington, Stanmore, Enmore, and Camperdown border Newtown, and Marrickville, Redfern, Petersham and Chippendale are only a second step away.
Map of Newtown
If you only do one thing
When out of town friends come to visit Wijesena, the first thing he does is grab drinks from PnV Wine Merchants or a local bar and head to Camperdown Memorial Park to sit in the sun and watch the dogs with all the locals. It's a rite of passage for all Newtowners, one which they do most weeks.