Sydney

The Best Cafes in Sydney to Sit & Sip

It’s no secret Australians have mastered coffee- from pour over to lattes, it’s hard to go wrong.

In case you haven’t already heard, sunny Sydney’s brews are some of the best in the world.

Everyone rates Melbourne for their coffee scene, and while it was ace, Sydney certainly didn’t leave anything to be desired.

But, just how did coffee become so popular in Australia?

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During the 60’s, espresso coffee grew in popularity, and soon after, Aussies found themselves intrigued by the aroma, and history of the beverage. Espresso coffee landing in Oz brought with it the romance of far-flung countries – Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopa.

By the early 70s, coffee culture was already established in Australia.

Today, Sydney’s cafe scene is one of the most dynamic in the world, with award-winning roasts and baristas helping the city appreciate great brews.

During our three weeks in Sydney, we spent a substantial amount of time exploring a few of the city’s neighborhoods. And, along with that, the best cafes in each of them.

A Guide to Sydney’s Cafes: 30 Spots to Sit and Sip

BONDI

Beaches and brews, does it get any better in one of the world’s most famous beach locations?

  • Porch and Parlour: Porridge, fresh juice and great brews
  • Speedos: We came for the pancakes, loaded with fruit, but were intrigued enough to order a ‘deconstructed mocha’ when we saw it on the menu. Verdict: Cool for Insta, though not as good as when they make it for you
  • Lox Stock & Barrel: Two staples done well: Bagels & coffee
  • Preach: Best spot to grab a cup of takeaway brew from for your coastal walk
  • Bondi Hardware: Known for their brunch scene, which of course includes ace coffee drinks

CBD (Central Business District)

There’s more than business brewing in Sydney’s downtown hub. Excuse the pun, the coffee is that great here.

  • Aslan Coffee Roasters (The Rocks): Got some time to kill before your ferry? Head over to this small, but mighty coffee shop. And, on the way back, walk along the waterfront for those million dollar opera house and harbour bridge views
  • Klink: Get takeaway coffee from this cute shop in an old police station, then go on a harbour walk
  • Pablo & Rusty’s: Spacious and bright, Pablo’s does a great iced coffee- but be forewarned, iced coffee in Syd comes with ice cream- unless you specify otherwise
  • The Grounds of the City: A beautiful cafe in the opening of an arcade, great for brunch or just a coffee catch-up
  • Workshop Espresso: An underground cafe, perfect for commuters or those in search of hidden gem coffee shops
  • MCA Cafe: Coffee, lunch, or a snack- whatever you choose to have here, it’ll be with one hell of a view (of the harbour and opera house)
  • Black Star Pastry: A can’t miss for breakfast pastries (the perfect coffee accompaniment)

SURRY HILLS & DARLINGHURST

Hipster haven means an endless amount of cool cafes in Surry Hills. While, adjacent Darlinghurst is fun and funky with loads of edgy shops.

  • Bootsdarling: Home to great coffee and a killer lunch menu
  • Fragrance: Here for the single window sidewalk sips
  • A Brewer’s Tale Cafe: When you’ve had too much caffeine, switch to taro lattes. Bonus points for a cool setting with lights housed in birdcages
  • Single O: If you visit one cafe in Surry Hills, make it this one. The coffee is so good, there’s an alleyway bit for those who want to stand and drink their coffee- all of it is just such a cool vibe
  • Reuben Hills: V trendy, but the avo toast and flat white were great, so worth checking out the scene
  • The Reformatory Caffeine Lab: Excellent cold brew, served Alice in Wonderland style in itty bitty bottles
  • Bills: All of the mint tea and muted, calm interiors, pls
  • Paramount Coffee Project: Single O is my favourite cafe in Surry Hills, but PCP is a close second. Their flat whites are everything Aussie coffee should be
  • Two Good Eggs: A classic brunch spot- the avo and feta smash, with scram and hash browns is #DroolEmoji

NORTH SYDNEY

Most of these chill cafes offer a dose of seaside calm, in addition to cool coffee drinks.

  • Celsius Coffee Co: A tiny cafe, jutting out over the harbour- the waffles are beautiful (and delicious), and flat whites predictably fantastic
  • Bay Ten Espresso: If you’re nearby Bay Ten, don’t miss popping in for a takeaway flat white
  • The Boathouse Balmoral: The fish and chips are legendary, but the orange infused cold brew is just the loveliest to sip with a view of the sea

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GLADESVILLE & HUNTERS HILL

Understandably, some people may be scratching their head at this neighbourhood addition. Most visitors, especially those in Sydney for a short time, stay central in the city or along the coast.

Since we were there for three weeks, we chose comfort over proximity, and scored a beautiful, studio Airbnb. It was a 2 minute walk to buses that went straight into the CBD, and on average took 20-30 minutes to get downtown. Because we spent most mornings and weekends in the area, we checked out a few local cafes and absolutely loved them.

  • Cav & Co: Just as good as any cafe in Oz, this was our go-to weekend brunch spot for avo toast and iced mochas
  • Cafe Elation: Ace flat whites, cool minimal Scandi decor
  • Dachshund Coffee: Filled with plants, serving up great brunch staples. Don’t miss the sandwich with a fried egg, kale, chipotle mayo, avo and halloumi

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A FEW MORE FAVOURITES

Scattered in a few other places around Sydney, we also dug these spots:

  • The Grounds of Alexandria: Everyone, literally everyone, told us to visit the Grounds. And, everyone told us to come early- as in when they first open early. Especially if visiting on a weekend. We loved the Grounds- concept wise- it’s a cool cafe, restaurant, garden and market all rolled into one complex. The iced coffee and avo toast are as excellent as you’d expect
  • Mecca Coffee: Beautifully designed with great flat whites and a must-order-from brunch menu
  • Coffee Alchemy: Excellent coffee in a small suburb. A great stop if you’re headed south to check out the coastal stretch below Sydney

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If you’ve got a favourite cafe in Sydney, did it make this list? What would you add to this guide of cafes in Sydney? 

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