Bakeries, bookstores and blues bars: why Dulwich Hill is the Inner West’s best kept secret

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Sydney has a soft spot for its regions. We tend to stick to local pockets – from northern beaches to eastern suburbs, or from the western interior to the far west. But to computerwe seek to push people outside these imaginary walls to discover all that this incredible city has to see.

Today we turn to the Inner West, where charming tree-lined streets and unassuming apartment buildings hide some of the city’s most exciting experiences. You may be thinking: I know the Inner West. I’ve eaten at the hot spots in Newtown, toured the breweries in Marrickville, and had some outstanding spaghetti at Leichhardt. But we’re here to tell you that there’s definitely more to see.

Right now we love Dulwich Hill. It’s one of the few Sydney suburbs in which big business has yet to claim one in two storefronts, leaving independent and family-owned businesses to run things their way (in some cases over the past few decades). There’s more to see than we can write about, and it’s worth a visit in person, but here are some nibbles for the feast on offer.

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GIFTS TO GALLERY

Whether it’s for you or someone else, there’s plenty to shop on New Canterbury Road. Make your first stop Connie Dimas Jewelry, which is less than a ten-minute walk from the tram stop. This charming store has been part of the Village of Dulwich Hill for over five years and continues to delight customers with its wide variety of handcrafted jewellery. With her ever-growing collection of silver, gold, and pearl jewelry, as well as her custom designs, Connie has become a local legend, gracing necks, fingers, and wrists throughout the Inner West.

Coming from a family of designers and artisans, she eventually found her place in the world of jewelry, traveling and learning craftsmanship all over the world. Now she brings everything she learned to Dulwich Hill, creating a range of beautiful pieces that take inspiration from our world and the people who live in it.

Over the hill and to the left is Marrickville Road, where bookworms should plot a course as only a short distance is Gleebooks. From its first store in Glebe since 1975, Gleebooks has spent over 40 years growing into one of Sydney’s largest and best-loved independent bookstores, with several branches across the city. Gleebooks is the heart of the Dulwich Hill reading community and keeps its shelves stocked with classics and new releases.

Gleebooks has also become equally well known for its regular events, hosting hundreds each year across all its locations – names like Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Colm Toibin, David Malouf and Annie Proulx have graced the doors of its various stores in Sydney. The Dulwich Hill store has recently seen the likes of Bertie Blackman, daughter of famed Australian painter Charles Blackman and Cornersmith duo Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards.

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INTERNAL AFFAIRS

Interior design is big business in Dulwich Hill, but one place in particular stands out. Interior of Medina offers authentic handmade furniture and home décor direct from Morocco – so expect vibrant colors, mesmerizing shapes and top quality materials that will bring fascinating design into any home, from mosaics from Fez, Safi ceramics and arabesque silver, brass and copper tea sets, lanterns, leather, painted furniture, wickerware and more.

Founded in 2000, Medina imports all of its products from Morocco, so you know you’re getting the real deal. Owner Krisi has started a family within the Dulwich Hill community, and locals always come by to say hello and see how she’s doing.

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Julian Hochgesang – Unsplash

On the other side of the road is Brady’s Used Furniture (also known as Sydney Used Furniture). This local furniture game legend from Dulwich Hill has been there for over 30 years and has recently become an online hub for all of Sydney. It is immediately visible upon approach, with its magnificent selection of wood, fabric, leather and metal furniture spilling beyond its doors – step inside to discover an ever-intriguing array of antique glassware, books and other bric-a-brac.

In addition to buying, Brady’s is a great choice for selling your used furniture and pouring cash for your old sofas, side tables, and household relics. Brady’s specializes in deceased estates, ensuring valuable assets are in the right hands for the right price. It also offers appraisals on the valid price of your goods, so you know you’re not getting ripped off.

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WINE DOWN

you can feel Larder Wine and Cheese Bar before seeing it. This meeting place on Marrickville Road brings an upscale attitude paired with top quality amenities from across Australia and the world. The menu is in the name, but patrons can also sample beer, cider, charcuterie boards, cheese toast, pasture platters, and the tasty chunks and bobs to fill them up. You buy some to take home or order from the online store that offers click-and-collect on its wide range of products, but our advice is to taste it in store — it’s a great excuse to put on some nice clothes. and indulge in wine and cheese, guided by co-owners Monique Emmi and Raymond Carbonaro.

If you prefer a little more spiciness than wine and cheese can offer, Butchers beer bar is an atmosphere in which you will want to get involved. It’s a gem of a live music venue, regularly featuring jazz, funk, blues, reggae, soul, indie pop, folk, Brazilian and more. Drinks are smooth, with more than 20 wines available by the glass, as well as craft beer, cider, spirits, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options.

There is no menu, but there is a very welcoming BYO policy here – customers are welcome to bring any food from any local restaurant. So you can eat Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, Turkish, burgers or pizza while you are watching a concert.
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WHEN HUNGER STRIKES

Given its incredibly diverse demographics, it’s no surprise that Dulwich Hill is home to an incredibly diverse range of food. If you’re thinking Mexican locals look no further than Tamaleria and Mexican charcuterie. Owner Rosa Cienfuegos emigrated to Australia from Mexico City in 2009, working with her father at El Cuervo Cantina in Enmore, then branched off to run monthly pop-ups in Marrickville before finally opening a permanent location in Dulwich Hill in 2018.

His hole-in-the-wall spot on Marrickville Road offers a wide menu of delicious home-style Mexican delicacies. As the name suggests, the tamales here stand out, having gained fame far beyond Inner West.

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For snacks or sweet treats, Honey and nut pastry is a must. A post-lockdown addition to the village of Dulwich Hill, this charming bakery is owned and operated by a team of four skilled pastry chefs. Peter and Nelly Kalamvoki, joined by Angela and Peter Bozikis, bring decades of shared experience, and the couples’ Greek heritage is visible in both decor and menu items like spanakopita, pastitsio and tiropita, which sit alongside perfect treats like cheesecake pastries, velvet cakes, eclairs and everything in between.

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Dulwich Hill is located in Sydney’s Inner West and borders Lewisham, Marrickville, Hurlstone Park and Summer Hill. It is accessible via the L1 light metro or on the T3 train line. There is also plenty of street and municipal parking.

For more amazing ways to experience Dulwich Hill and the Inner West, go to the website.

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