7 reasons to stroll along Darby St, Newcastle

This inviting shopping strip packs a lot into a small space, including owner-operated cafés, jewellers, salons, eateries and colour-splashed terraces

  • Linda Drummond

① Abicus

Newcastle’s sharpest fashions for guys and gals can be found here. Established on Darby Street in 2000, Abicus recently moved to a schmick new store across the road from its original location (leaving the original storefront to its more girly sibling – Scout by Abicus). There’s a real musical vibe to the store, due in no small part to the stacks of vinyl and CDs on offer, the books dedicated to music and the turntable-spun tunes that fill the air.

103 Darby St, +61 02 4023 2165abicus.com.au opens in new window

② Blackbird Corner

There isn’t a corner, shelf or drawer here that isn’t filled with something utterly delightful. Handcrafted jewellery, handmade clothing and items of artisanal décor jostle for space with a cool range of magazines, books, cards and Lomography cameras. Every purchase is handed over in a hand-printed calico bag or a cute paper lollybag sealed with washi tape.  It’s next-to-impossible to walk out empty handed.

70 Darby St, +61 02 4929 4350facebook.com/BlackbirdCorner

③ Frankie’s Place

The all-day breakfast menu is the main draw at this quirky café in a spearmint-painted, two-storey terrace, which offers more than a few nods to the past. What’s cuter than a milkshake served on a Little Golden Book placemat? Nothing, that’s what. And don’t miss the two-tier wall of vintage vinyl album covers just inside the front door. Frankie’s Place is sweet, neat and petite.

133 Darby St, +61 02 4925 3470facebook.com/frankiesplaceondarby opens in new window

④ Ramjet assortments

Also boasting a retro vibe, Ramjet offers up just about everything the fussy fashionista could ask for – from AMCO jeans and ’70s-style tees to limited-edition frocks and cowboy boots. Guys and gals are well catered for – up top with sweet shades and down low with seamed fishnets. And, let’s face it, any store that features pink flamingo-adorned wallpaper is a must-see.

78 Darby St, +61 02 4926 2839www.facebook.com/pages/RamjetAssortments opens in new window

⑤ High Tea with Mrs Woo

This meticulously curated boutique is a source of visual delight. Operated by the three Foong sisters, the shop is stocked with everything from bespoke clothing bearing the sisters’ own label to homely, handcrafted creations. Every item is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. All in all, it’s an oasis of tranquillity.

74 Darby St, +61 02 4926 4883highteawithmrswoo.com.au opens in new window

⑥ Betty Mim

Lush leather goods, tactile sleepwear, stylish clothes, quirky cards, homewares and so much more fill this stylish shop. Every item at Betty Mim is unique and independently designed, and chosen with a sharp eye for the fun, funky and fabulous. You’ll pounce with delight on something that’s perfect for you or your best friend.

167 Darby St, +61 02 4926 1420facebook.com/bettymim/info opens in new window

⑦ Too Cool for School

Parents will swoon at all the awesome kids’ stuff on offer here. Chock-a-block with mini Doc Martens, funky toys and rockin’ outfits, Too Cool for School is a dream for cool kids of all ages. Collectibles, cult brands and items that are just plain cute fill the shelves and walls at this fabulous store, which is unlike any kids’ shop you’re likely to see.

105 Darby St, +61 02 4023 5761toocoolforschool.com.au opens in new window

And if all that shopping leaves you hungry?

Vietnamese, Indian, Tex-Mex, Malaysian and Thai eateries mingle with Darby Street’s eclectic cafés – it’s a hungry browser’s delight. While all-day breakfasts are Darby Street’s speciality, at night there are plenty of other options – both food- and drink-wise. Oh, and the coffee? It’s always good on Darby.