Why Haymarket is Sydney’s coolest suburb right now

Unique boutiques, every kind of Asian food, quirky cafes, theatres and galleries - the area once called “Chinatown” has so much to offer, including the hip new Darling Square precinct.

People eating at a cafe next to some grass outside The Exchange in Haymarket, Sydney
  • Alexandra Carlton
  • March 2020

The vibrant inner-city neighbourhood of Haymarket, now home to cool restaurants, bars and boutiques, has exploded in popularity.

Maker’s Dozen

At this upmarket new cluster of food and drink outlets, inside the Exchange Building in Darling Square, you can grab a group of friends and mix-and-match an artisanal multicultural feast that could include hyper-spiced Sri Lankan curry and roti from Hopper Kadé, bespoke bao from Mr Bao and natural wine and craft beer from Bucket Boys.


Dopa Don and Milk Bar

Brought to you by the folks behind the beloved Devon Café in Surry Hills, Dopa Don is where to go for flavour-packed Japanese rice bowls topped with everything from sea urchin to tempura. Asian-style milkshakes and desserts play a starring role too – the Japanese shaved ice is not to be missed.


Citizen Wolf

This unique ethical fashion brand plans to change the way the world buys clothes, by custom fitting each of their chic cotton and merino wool basics to ensure they never end up discarded at the back of your wardrobe or thrown in the Vinnies bin after one wear. They’re so committed to minimising waste, they’ll even do free lifetime repairs.


The shop facade of Citizen Wolf in Haymarket, Sydney
Sustainable fashion boutique Citizen Wolf is one of the cool new additions at Darling Square.

Capitol Theatre

Even if you’re not a theatre buff, dressing up for a night at the opulent Capitol, with its grand statues and ceiling designed to look like the twilight sky, is a magical experience. In 2020, the program includes the upbeat Menopause the Musical, divine Chinese dance spectacular Shen Yun and family favourite Frozen.


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

This small but vibrant gallery space, tucked behind the Capitol Theatre, celebrates the diversity of work by Asian and Asian-Australian artists. In 2020, the Centre’s I Am a Heart Beating in the World exhibition explores the challenging theme of “diaspora” and what it means to those who live it.



This social space is named after the little French town where van Gogh once lived – although the vibrant Gillie and Marc mural featuring a rabbit and dog gliding through the streets on a Vespa is quite Parisian. Even the drinks have a van Gogh theme with names like Sunflower In Hand and the food is French-meets-Asian (escargot with wonton wrappers anyone?).



Hidden in a nondescript alleyway with nothing more than a small black and white sign to point to the entrance, the Japanese-feel bar is the edgy drinking hole Haymarket has always cried out for. The creamy matcha chocolate Negroni is a drink and dessert in one.


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