Surry Hills Markets

3 Jul

I remember hunting factory outlets in Surry Hills more than 15 years ago in the days before massive DFO centres. The streets were dirty and the shop facades, industrial. Surry Hills today is completely transformed. It’s still kinda gritty in an inner west way but its slick and it’s very very cool. Martin Boetz, Bill Granger & Kylie Kwong are among the celebrity chefs that run restaurants here in an area that now has seemingly endless cafes & bars. In between are the boutiques. You know, all the ones you see quoted in magazines – Chee Soon & Fitzgerald, C’s Flashback, Orson & Blake, DavidmetNicole and Mushu. The cool oozes out onto the street too where you brush shoulders with an electic mix of locals – the art students, the gay community, families, the cool kids and the wannabes. Surry Hills has become one of those places where people love to hang, to people watch & be seen.

On busy Crown street you will find the Surry Hills Market held on the first Saturday of the month. It’s set in a small park complete with a playground for the kids admist the bars, cafes & boutiques. The stalls mostly sell second-hand wares like books, fashion, homewares and furniture. There are a number of antique dealers selling small collectible pieces with an emphasis on the retro 1950-70’s. You may come across authentic vintage fashion, I spied an immaculate baby blue tuxedo there, but mostly it is last season’s fashion or items you might find in an op shop circa 1992. A trained eye will have luck finding designer items among the high street brands but be prepared to pay more for them. I browsed purple Master Slave wedges, a Hermes necklace and Leona Edmiston sunglasses. There are a couple of food outlets at the market and a plethora of cafes nearby, you won’t go hungry.

This genre of market ticks most of my boxes but there are few sticking points that keep me from returning as often as I do other markets. It’s a bit of a walk from the nearest train station and a notoriously hard place to park, so be sure to bring change for the parking meter. In my book many of the stall holders over charge for their second-hand goods. As a seasoned op shopper I’ve been spoiled by the minimal prices charged by the Salvos. I find it difficult to pay $10 for a scarf I would have only paid $1 in an op shop for. I picked up a pair of brown leather boots and promptly put them back down again when told they were $85. Seriously? The boots were preloved and of no specific brand. I guess someone might pay that amount of money for them, but not me. The stall holders motivation seems to be for the profit rather than to just get rid off all their old stuff. Many of them will not tolerate price haggling and are surprised when confronted with a counter offer. Still I didn’t leave the market empty-handed. I found a red silk skirt, $3 and a Puma hoodie also $3. A pair of black Converse Chuck Taylors, $10 and a couple of new tops reduced from $40 for $15 each. 

As our parking timed out we unfortunately didn’t have time to explore the surrounding boutiques, many of which sell recycled wares or sit for lunch so we headed over to Annandale for Pub Cha, Yum Cha style food in a pub. The pub in question is the legendary Annandale Hotel. Home to some of the best live (& loud) music in Sydney for the past 3 decades. We snacked on dumplings & fish cakes washed down with beer in the sunny courtyard but when I ventured into the pub to use the toilets I was transported back to my 20’s. The stench of the beer soaked floor struck me like a baseball bat. The old pub looked pretty much the same. I like that.

After lunch we drove down the road to Federal Park so the kids could run about on the play equipment and we could walk along the water’s edge of Rozelle Bay, looking out toward the Anzac Bridge. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday with the people you love.

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One Response to “Surry Hills Markets”

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