Inner West, represent! We visited the beautiful waterfront neighbourhood of Balmain to bring you our top picks for the best eating, drinking, and shopping in the precinct, perfect for those looking for new things to do in Sydney. Brimming with hot new spots to try, and a couple of old favourites thrown into the mix, here's our guide to the bustling streets of Balmain.
Bringing a slice of NY to Sydney's Inner West, Bar Contessa serves great coffee via Jack and the Bean, and all-day breakfast (which, let's be honest, is all we really want!). Menu highlights include the brioche French toast with crispy hickory-smoked bacon (because, YOLO), and the brekky burrito with grilled chorizo and spicy tomato relish—both delicious. There are also plenty of options for the vegetarian and gluten-free, so there's really no excuse not to go!
In need of a caffeine hit? Get to this cosy little eatery for your afternoon espresso and a tasty treat (or two). If you'd rather get juiced, Kafeine also offer a bunch of healthy concoctions like the Head Cold, Immune Booster, or Hangover Recover (destined to be a regular on our rotation), for when you're starting to feel the effects of last night!
Famed among Balmain locals, Kazbah has concocted a modern mash up of Middle Eastern cuisine with breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings. The place is pretty family-friendly, boasting a dedicated kids' menu, while also well and truly catering for the big kids with shish kebabs served on swords and Turkish delight bombs flamed with Absolut Kurant vodka. Safety first!
The Little Marionette
Coffee nerds, rejoice! The team at The Little Marionette creates the perfect brew, which you can enjoy within the cafe's cosy interior, or in the breezy park across the road (sublime on a sunny day!). The coffee is certainly king, but you can also grab a sandwich or muffin if you're feeling a bit peckish.
The Cottage Bar & Kitchen
This wine bar will make you feel right at home! Share plates and wood-fired pizza is the order of the day, but we'd start with the chef's selection of charcuterie (because it's really fun to say, and so yummy) and some slivers of fine cheese (because: CHEESE). To drink, The Cottage specialty is punch bowls of cocktails, like strawberry white wine sangria and passion punch . . . Challenge accepted!
The Balmain Hotel
Looking for the best pubs in Balmain? The Balmain Hotel has recently undergone a fresh new makeover, which we think looks pretty sweet! Kick back in its new and improved beer garden, and look out for the stellar daily specials, including $1 hot dogs each Monday (what?!), 50c wings on a Wednesday and Thursday's dollar dumplings!
The Lodge Bar
This dimly-lit bar will transport you to 1930s Paris, and we could think of plenty worse places to be! An intimate local haunt, The Lodge Bar serves delectable share plates in the eve', as well as a very special Sunday six-course lunch. The friendly bar staff will happily talk you through the 200-plus wine list, as well, which is a big plus!
Housing prime local and international labels such as Karen Walker, Fred Perry, A.T.P, Benah, and Three Over One, Alfie's Store has become a go-to for style-focused men and women. A definite must in our Balmain round up, we guarantee you won't leave empty-handed!
Still looking for things to do in Sydney? How about some antiquing? We recommend you take a step back in time at the beautiful, Quintessential DuckEggBlue. A treasure trove of gorgeous reclaimed and antique furniture sourced from across the globe, you'll find everything from industrial tables to English leather sofas and hand-printed wallpaper. A go-to for design inspiration!
Cult-label Bassike has recently opened a beautiful, standalone store in Balmain, showcasing its beloved collection of both men and women's ready-to-wear and signature organic cotton jersey. The store also stocks Japanese-made denim and eyewear, as well as a curated selection of international labels such as Jerome Dreyfuss, Birkenstock, and Moscot. If you are not on the Bassike bandwagon yet, now's the time, make their Balmain location your first stop – you'll never look back!
Okay, so where have we missed? Let us know your Balmain secrets below!