Where to eat, shop and play in Kings Cross

Kings Cross has had many lives; it’s been a home to Sydney’s gangsters, fiends, poets, musicians, bohemians and artists alike. These days, the Cross sees small bars and diners springing up alongside acclaimed restaurants and pubs.
Patrons at Piccolo Bar in Kings Cross.
Kings Cross is known for its small bars, such as Piccolo Bar. Photo credit: Glenn Lockitch.

The iconic Coca-Cola sign on Bayswater Road marks your entrance to Kings Cross, Sydney’s notorious nightlife hub. But Kings Cross is no longer just nightlife and debauchery; it’s also a hub of fine dining, high fashion, and exciting hidden bars.

Along the main strips you’ll have no trouble finding a string of fast food eateries, cafés and bars. There are also plenty of modern dining options. Chula and Sonora are recommended for Mexican feasts and bottomless brunch dates. The Farmhouse serves up modern Australian, while across the road, Bones Ramen has a dedicated following – for good reason.

Venture further around the corner to Kellett Street to find a clutch of unique restaurant destinations: try Italian organic fare at Bloom, perfect pizzas at Caffé Roma, Middle Eastern at Ezra, and pre- or post-dinner drinks at Dean’s Lounge, a cosy cocktail lounge with old-school vibes.

In Roslyn Street, a clutch of cafés and bars with al-fresco dining options beckon. Take in aperitivo bar Piccolo, Asian-fusion at Honkas Bar + Eats and Vietnamese casual dining at Lady Chu. Savour a cocktail at lush subterranean bar Dulcie’s or within the splendid Art Deco confines of The Roosevelt. These venues will take you back to the old Kings Cross speakeasies you never visited but wish you had.

For more casual nights, both the Kings Cross Hotel and Potts Point Hotel, which bookend Darlinghurst Road, offer pub meals, happy hours and variety shows. Mini golf at Holey Moley or darts at La Di Darts are ideal for groups or date-night fun.

Late nights in Kings Cross mean the good times roll on, with clubs including Sussudio, Flamingo Lounge and CULT. In the Cross, it’s very easy to keep the party going all night long.

Things to do
Woman wearing sequin cowboy hat outside Sussudio nightclub in Kings Cross.
Sussudio is part of the new generation of nightclubs in Kings Cross. Photo credit: Glenn Lockitch.

Take a putt at Holey Moley, which turns traditional mini golf into a multi-sensory experience. Every hole within this lively labyrinth has its own theme, with plenty of selfie opportunities along the way. 82-94 Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point NSW 2011. (02) 7202 7798.

Laugh a little, or more likely a lot, at the Potts Point Hotel’s weekly comedy event, The Running Joke. Tuesday nights see a rotation of established and up-and-coming comedians take the stage. 33-35 Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point NSW 2011. (02) 9157 1957.

Celebrate yourself at CULT, a new nightclub that is all about individual expression. After all, staying on the dancefloor until the early hours is easier when surrounded by the comfort and acceptance of a like-minded crowd. 19-35 Bayswater Rd, Potts Point NSW 2011.

Get a bird’s-eye view from the rooftop of the Kings Cross Hotel. Overlooking Darlinghurst Road and the busy intersection beneath the Coca-Cola sign, this is a good place to watch local characters – of which there are plenty – wander past while you linger over a pint. 244-248 William St, Potts Point NSW 2011. (02) 9331 9900.

Lean into the overwhelm at Penny’s Cheese Shop, a fromagerie so good it counts Nigella Lawson among its fans. The huge range of dairy is complemented by well-stocked shelves of fancy trimmings, such as fresh bread, crackers and artisan relishes. The staff are infinitely knowledgeable and always willing to share what they know. Shop 6, 127-139 Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011. 0422 412 608.

Eat and drink

Dean’s Lounge. You know a bar is legitimate when its late-night patrons include a healthy amount of hospitality workers. This haunt is a favourite of the industry, and a perfect place to experience the old-school eclectic charm Kings Cross became known for. 7 Kellett St, Potts Point NSW 2011. 0403 240 456.

Ezra. A modern restaurant that celebrates Ashkenazi, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours. Tucked into the leafy backstreets and strung with fairy lights, the charming atmosphere further adds to the experience. 3 Kellett St, Potts Point NSW 2011. (02) 8322 0929.

The Roosevelt. With its private poker den and Art Deco allure, this elegant bar and diner gives New York steakhouses a serious run for their money. 32 Orwell St, Potts Point NSW 2011. 0423 203 119.

The Apollo. A Greek taverna, but with an industrial-chic twist, this iconic Potts Point eatery serves modern dishes cooked over wood and charcoal, with the local well-heeled regularly swarming here for their Friday lunches. 44 Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011.

Cho Cho San. Very good Japanese food in the heart of Potts Point. This bright, sleek, stylish restaurant pairs fine-dining izakaya with a refined cocktail menu and soft serve ice cream. 73 Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011. (02) 9331 6601.

Piccolo. A tiny neighbourhood aperitivo bar in an historic corner store building. Pull up a chair outside, let the staff tell you their favourite cocktail of the minute, pair it with a snack and you’ve got a good thing going. 6 Roslyn St, Potts Point NSW 2011

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