Rich in history, Darlinghurst is bustling with restaurants, cafes, bars, theatres and galleries. The glittering parade of the world-famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is held every March on Oxford Street. Since beginning as a civil rights march in 1978, Mardi Gras has become one of Sydney’s biggest and brightest events.
You will also find ‘eat streets’ along Victoria, Oxford and Stanley streets, only minutes from the city centre, as well as an exciting events calendar. A delectable range of restaurants and cafes includes Bar Colluzi, on Victoria Street, a cafe institution. Tropicana Caffe is where the Tropfest short film festival began in 1993.
In laneways and backstreets there are small bars to discover, such as Red Lily Cocktail Bar in Crown Lane and Pocket Bar on Burton Street. The cosy wine bar Love, Tilly Devine in Crown Lane is named after Matilda ‘Tilly’ Devine, an infamous Darlinghurst madam who fronted one of the notorious 1920s razor gangs.
Eau de Vie mixes tempting cocktails in the Kirketon Hotel, a short walk from Kings Cross Station. Nearby is Nimrod Street, home to the Griffith Theatre Co. at the historic SBW Stables Theatre, where Oscar winner Cate Blanchett has graced the intimate stage. And discover Slide Lounge’s alluring cabaret and Oxford Art Factory’s edgy music.
At the heritage-listed Eternity Playhouse, in Burton Street, the Darlinghurst Theatre Co. puts on evocative performances. Other fascinating attractions include the Sydney Jewish Museum and its free guided tours and the convict-built Darlinghurst Gaol, which is now the National Art School.
Dotted along these inner Sydney streets are an eclectic range of stylish boutiques and commercial galleries. For classic clothing, browse Route 66, which has been operating on Crown Street since 1988. On Liverpool Street, near popular pubs, is Blue Spinach, a boutique of recycled luxury fashion.