Sydney is perhaps best known for its iconic picture-perfect landmarks, but tucked away within the commercial and business heart of the city are unique offerings from exceptional artists and craftsman that both visitors and locals will delight in discovering.
We spoke to Jaci from Culture Scouts and Alessandra from Artisan Walk Sydney for some recommendations of originality and creativity within the streets, laneways and heritage buildings of Sydney.
Start your day just south of the CBD at Galerie Pompom in Chippendale. The contemporary art space aims to develop some of the brightest and best Sydney and Melbourne artists working in a range of art mediums. Once you've wandered the gallery, Jaci from Culture Scouts suggests heading to nearby café Henry Lee's, where the creativity keeps on flowing. The tucked away kitchen and collaborative space boasts a large stylish courtyard and picturesque brunch dishes will delight Nick Cave fans with a menu strewn with references to his songs and albums, such as the tasty 'Tender Prey' braised beef cheeks.
After refuelling on some bad seeds and good beans, walk up to Central station and make your way into the city where Alessandra from Artisan Walk says to visit the heritage-listed St James Trust building at 185 Elizabeth Street. On the ground floor, tailor and textile designer Shane Rochefort offers a bespoke outfitting service with imagination and flair, as well as a luxurious selection of accessories including ties crafted from limited edition, custom-made silks.
Wander past Hyde Park and take a left on Market St to reach 412–414 George St, where you’ll find the last remaining Victorian-era shopping arcade in Sydney, The Strand Arcade. Once you’ve stopped by MEN’S BIZ on the ground floor for a tidy up at the barbershop and a restock on your grooming armoury, take the stairs up to level 2. Here, Alessandra suggests visiting the workshop of artisan shoemaker Andrew McDonald, where you can browse a range of handmade ready-to-wear leather shoes and accessories, make an appointment for bespoke custom-made shoes, or even sign up to his five-day beginner shoemaking course where you’ll design and make your own pair of shoes from scratch.
Such stylish shoes wouldn't be complete without a handmade suit, so head across the walkway to the studio of stylish menswear label Mister Mister at shop 126. Daniel and team will accommodate walk-ins and appointments for beautifully designed, made-to-measure menswear shirts and suiting.
After meeting the artisans, perhaps seeing them work and maybe buying something one-of-a-kind, it's time for a different type of artisanal experience. Tucked down a cobbled laneway at 348 Kent Street is the tiny Papa Gede's bar. An intimate New Orleans-style cocktail bar offering thoughtfully selected platters of food to share, a variety of delicious and unusual cocktails and a range of handmade tiki mugs, this is the perfect place to end your day, or start your evening...
1 Galerie Pompom → 2/39 Abercrombie St, Chippendale
2 Henry Lee's → 16 Eveleigh Street, Redfern
3 Rochefort Tailors → St James Trust Building Ground Floor, 185 Elizabeth Street
4 A. McDonald Shoemaker → Strand Arcade, Level 2, Shop 121, 412-414 George Street
5 Mister Mister → Strand Arcade, Level 2, Shop 126, 412-414 George Street
6 Papa Gede's → Rear of laneway, 348 Kent Street