Discovering Redfern’s Hidden Gems

Image Source: Londener in Sydney

Like the neighbouring suburbs of Surry Hills and Waterloo, Redfern is one of many former working-class Sydney ‘burbs that have become the epitome of cool in the blink of an eye. Seemingly at every turn you’ll find great little restaurants, cafés and bars, hip galleries and shops, and a wildly creative scene. All that coupled with eclectic street art, a huge dose of history, and enough urban grit to make Redfern a colourful and exciting place to explore. 

Without a doubt, the creative heart is Carriageworks, the beautifully converted former Eveleigh rail yards. There’s so much going on here year-round, from the bustling farmers market held every Saturday, to cooking demonstrations and hands-on workshops, live talks, night markets, art exhibitions, theatre, music and dance. 

Image source: Carriage Works Farmers Market 

Drinking and dining in this locale just got a whole lot better over the last few years with the opening of a great array of eateries and food retailers in South Eveleigh. One of the big drawcards is Lucky Kwong, owned by celebrity chef Kylie Kwong. While you’re in the ‘hood, check out the community rooftop garden featuring indigenous edible, cultural and medicinal plants. 

The cafés and restaurants in and around Redfern are as multicultural as this diverse community. Kepos Street Kitchen is renowned for its Middle Eastern food. It was founded by Michael Rantissi who grew up in Tel Aviv and brought his family cooking all the way with him to Sydney.  

Image Source: Concrete Playground

RaRa Ramen, a tiny joint in Regent Street, is so popular for its ramen that the lines often run out the door. Café Kentaro is a big nod to Japan, while everyone will tell you that La Coppola does a pizza to write home about.

A hip place to go to for all-day café fare is Three Williams, with its minimalist warehouse feel and delicious seasonally driven menu. Look to Breadfern for artisan breads and baked goods, including many gluten-free items, and to Ciccone And Sons which some say does Sydney’s best gelato. 

Image Source: Cioccone & Sons

Bar and pub goers are spoilt for choice in this neck of the woods. The Atomic Beer Project Brewery serves burgers, salads, snacks and big plates alongside its beer, while The Noble Hops serves a huge array of craft beer. Arcadia Liquors is a cool bar with an intimate beer garden decorated with fairy lights. Moyas Juniper Lounge, as you might have guessed from the name, is a gin bar. For a touch of nostalgia, The Dock has vintage furniture, board games and excellent live music.  

Taking a walking or cycling tour is a great way to learn more about Redfern’s fascinating history and the Aboriginal community’s deep connection to the area. Despite the name, book your bike tour with Sydney Architecture Walks; they’ll take you through the backstreets of Redfern and several other inner-city neighbourhoods. 

Image Source: Londener in Sydney

Grab a coffee from Scout’s Honour and head to heritage-listed Redfern Park, the setting for then Prime Minister Paul Keating’s iconic Redfern Speech in 1992. Just a few blocks from Redfern Park, the Aboriginal & Pacific Art Gallery has been championing indigenous and oceanic artists since 2017. Cooee Art Leven, formerly Coo-ee Art Redfern, has a long track record as Australia’s oldest indigenous art gallery (established 1981). 

And finally, it might seem odd to recommend a convenience store, but the Redfern Convenience Store is like no other. A mini sensation on the ‘Net and social media, it sells an extraordinary range of sweets and treats from more than 15 countries. Guaranteed, you won’t have seen anything like it before. 

Image Source: Cooee Art Redfern

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