Eat, drink & play: A guide to the best of Enmore
In Sydney’s inner-west, Enmore is one of Sydney’s hottest suburbs, packed with hip restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, shops and live-music venues. Here’s your guide to where to eat, drink and play.
The inner-west suburb of Enmore is often overshadowed by its popular bohemian neighbours, including Newtown and Marrickville. But venture just a bit up further the street and you’ll find yourself in one of Sydney’s hippest ‘hoods: the bustling Enmore Road. The vibes are just as laid-back, but you can also find trendsetting new establishments, from freshly minted live music venues to pop-up restaurants and oh-so-cool bars.
Where to wine & dine
Newtown has long been applauded for its eclectic food offerings, and now its neighbour in Enmore is keeping pace. There are plenty of cheap-and-cheerful places to grab a quick bite before or after a show, but there are just as many eateries that you’ll want to linger in. For excellent tapas-style share plates head to Bar Louise, brought to you by the team behind Sydney hipster hangout, Porteno. Another local favourite is Osteria di Russo and Russo, helmed by a father-and-son team who take their inspiration from Italy’s classic trattorias of the 1970s – the menu changes with the seasons.
The offerings at Queen Chow revolve around Hong Kong street food staples, like roasted duck, wok-fried favourites and platters of dim sum. Conveniently, it’s located within the Queens Hotel, so you can enjoy a cold beverage before or after your meal. The Sri Lankan food dished up at Colombo Social is delicious, but even more impressive is the restaurant’s dedication to providing employment opportunities, practical experience and training for people seeking asylum.
Where to grab cheap eats
In the mood for a quick bite, pre- or post-theatre? You’ve come to the right suburb. Egyptian cuisine is all about charcoal meats, falafels and foods rich in plants. And that’s exactly what you can look forward to at Cairo Takeaway, where the succinct menu features faves like hawawshi (spiced-mince flatbread) and fuul madamas (slow-cooked fava beans). Nearby, Little Lagos is one of Sydney’s only Nigerian restaurants, which is great news if you’re craving spicy jollof rice, more-ish stews and fried plantain. Also adding to Enmore’s multicultural dining melting pot is Faheem Fast Food, an Indian and Pakistani joint where you can indulge in flavour-packed tandoori and curries, including an extensive range of vegetarian options.
Meanwhile, sharing is the name of the game at Emma’s Snack Bar, which is regularly voted among the city’s top Lebanese restaurants. Kebabs are made to order, there’s a great range of dips and breads, and the salads are super fresh – what’s not to like? If you’re hungry late into the night, drop past Epic Pizza for a New York-style pie – they come in three sizes, or you can follow the lead of Big Apple locals and just grab a slice.
Where to order a cocktail
Sydney has its fair share of talented mixologists. And you’ll find many of them behind the bar in Enmore. Case in point Jacoby’s Tiki Bar, which specialises in rum-based cocktails that are as pretty as they are tasty and come served in all manner of eye-popping vessels. Cool drinks, warm service is the motto at Fortunate Son, sitting pretty opposite the Enmore Theatre. A riff on an American-style saloon, it’s popular for its classic cocktails as well as house originals, not to mention its excellent wine list hero-ing small-batch Aussie drops.
Smack bang on Enmore Road you’ll discover Bar Planet, from the industry legends behind CantinaOK! and Tio’s. While you’ll find a range of cocktails on the menu, this dimly lit space is, first and foremost, a martini bar, with the menu listing classics alongside seasonal specialities. Newcomer Enmore Country Club is also saloon themed, uniting flickering candles with leather booths and a convivial atmosphere. The cocktails are creative, the wines are well curated and the bar snacks are perfectly proportioned.
Where to find a nice glass of wine
Another Enmore newcomer is Famelia, part bottle shop and part wine bar. It’s the brainchild of sommelier Amelia Birch, so you know the selection of vintages is going to be good – each week, guests are introduced to a selection of 12 wines, which you can enjoy by the glass, in a flight or by the bottle. Named after Barbara Streisand, Babs is a pop-up wine bar celebrating women in the hospitality industry, including winemakers. Open for three months from mid-September, it’s the perfect place for a glass or two of something interesting, paired with Euro-focused bar snacks like pickled sardines and chicken-liver gougeres. P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants is a purveyor of amazing Australian and imported natural wines, craft beers, artisan spirits and snacks. It’s a bottle shop, but there are wine tastings offered in store, as well as wine classes where you can hone your knowledge.
Where to eat pub fare
The Queens Hotel, part of the Merivale hospitality empire, offers a little something for everyone, including two bars and restaurant Queen Chow. The pub fare ranges from corn ribs and fries to chicken wings and Peking duck. Meanwhile at The Warren View Hotel, you can enjoy your chicken schnitzel, burger and craft beer in the courtyard, lit up with fairy lights each evening.
Where to get a caffeine fix
What do you get when you unite great coffee with great stylists? Welcome to Barberchino, a fun space where you can drop in for a latte while getting your beard (or hair) trimmed. Family run Cow and the Moon churns gelato fresh daily, available in flavours including Turkish delight and salted caramel. The other reason to come here is for the Single Origin coffee, which is ideally enjoyed at a sunny table by the window, watching the world go by. The team at Middle Eastern cafe Shenkin take their coffee just as seriously, roasting with beans by specialty coffee purveyors Seven Miles. When it comes to food, 80 per cent of what’s on the menu is made in-house, from the bagels to the dips and more.
Where to shop
Forget fast fashion – Enmore prides itself on its vintage stores, including Purple 22. Drop in here to browse quirky and pre-loved fashion pieces and accessories, for both him and her. It’s a similar story at Route 66, stocking classic vintage American clothing alongside quality denim and the store’s own range of vintage-inspired pieces. Cyclists will be familiar with Wheelhaus, a bicycle boutique specialising in road, gravel and CX bikes from top manufacturers around the world, as well as cycling merchandise so you’ll look the part. And if you’re in the market for art, stop past Tiliqua Tiliqua, where rotating exhibitions showcase work from up-and-coming creatives.
Where to watch live music (& have a laugh)
There’s never a dull moment in Enmore, home to some of Sydney’s most legendary venues for live entertainment. King of them all is the Enmore Theatre, the city’s oldest and longest-running live theatre. The Art Deco landmark hosts a wide range of music events across different genres – from funk and punk to folk and rock – as well as theatrical performances, kids shows and stand-up in the Enmore Comedy Club.
Another local favourite is Odd Culture’s The Duke of Enmore, where the drinks are stiff, the pizzas woodfired and the music live and loud, and played into the wee hours. There’s plenty to keep you entertained at the refurbished Enmore Hotel, from rock ‘n’ roll bingo on Wednesdays to blues on Thursdays and live music from 9pm to late on Saturdays, when there’s also a pool comp. Country music nights, meanwhile, steal the scene at the Enmore Country Club. Pull on your cowboy boots and prepare to tap your toes.
One of the neighbourhood’s newest live music venues, open at the end of October, is The Trocadero Room, channelling the glamorous days of Sydney’s entertainment scene replete with chandeliers, red velvet booths and black-and-white photos. Look forward to performances by comedians, live bands, DJs and screenings of cult horror films. It will be hidden behind Enmore’s smallest pub, The Magpie (opening in November), where you can catch a sports match with a pie and beer in hand. Also relatively intimate is The Midnight Special, which nods to America in design, replete with booth seating and chequered floors. Most nights, the owner spins vinyl from his personal collection, while on Fridays and Saturdays, you’re encouraged to bring your own records along.