Newy locals dish on best bars, brunch and beach spots

Newy locals dish on best bars, brunch and beach spots

24 March 2023

Newcastle is one of NSW’s most bountiful gems.

Over the last few years, it’s developed a rep for hosting some of Australia’s most gorgeous surf beaches and a huge number of chic restaurants, boutique stores, cultural hubs, and of course, classic pubs to boot.

In short, it’s way more than just a pit-stop location on your way to, say, Byron Bay.

Considering it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from Sydney (approx two-hour drive), it makes for the perfect short break destination for winter, summer or anything in between.

Whether you consider yourself a foodie, an outdoor adventurer or someone who likes to ‘rock up and see what happens’, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy there.

In our opinion, asking a local for recommendations ahead of visiting a new spot is a must, and if you’ve ever spoken to a Newy local, you’ve probably gotten the vibe that they’re proud as heck of their town (and for a good reason).

Here’s what a bunch of ’em recommend getting up to when you visit:

Food & Drink

“I would recommend ScottiesShip InnOh My Papa or Light Years for dinner and then Three Monkeys is a must for brekky. If you’re not in the mood for a sit-down sitch, fish and chips on the beach during sunset is unbeatable.” — Cass

“For Pizza, I would recommend Foghorn Brewery (for NY style Pizza and a to-die-for on-site brewery) or Centrale Napoli (Italian style). They’re both incredible and on par (if not better) than what I’ve had in Sydney.” — Max

“For casual food, I would absolutely recommend Kitami, and Antojitos. For cocktails: The Koutetsu and Ginger Meg’s are bomb.” — Bel

Those are some pretty fire recs, right? But alas, that’s not all Newcastle has to offer on the food scene.

If you’re in the mood to sip on a classy gin martini while picking at delicious bar snacks, one of our favourites is Bar Mellow, located amidst the hustle and bustle of Hunter Street.

Lock’s Paddock is another great option if you’re looking for something a little heartier (their Cacio e Pepe is to die for), and Flotilla recently received a chef’s hat for their seasonal approach to modern Australian-meets-classic-Italian dishes.

To finish off the night, head to the gorgeous little speakeasy Underground for a night cap and live jazz on Tuesday nights. 

Arts, Culture + Live Music

“Have you heard of a little slice of paradise called The Hamilton Station Hotel? I’ve seen Joyce Manor, Trophy Eyes and Northlane there before they were huge. It’s also bolstered the local Newcastle music scene heaps, with acts like RAAVE Tapes and the Gooch Palms all coming up there.” — Sam

“You’ll 100% be in luck vintage and op shopping around Newcastle. My regular haunts are usually Sourced on Darby or The Conscious Exchange.” — Dee

If none of that tickles your fancy, Jams Karaoke Bar could satiate your craving for Osaka-style street food and the feeling of screaming the words to ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ ‘til your lungs give out. If you’re a little more lowkey, the Rogue Scholar pub is a classic Aussie drinking hole with a vast musical history.

While you’re strolling the streets, we also highly recommend checking out the vibrant street art scene Newcastle has to offer. You’ll find hotspots around Beresford Lane in Newcastle West, where you’ll find a bunch of amazing murals, and the industrial area around Foundry and Greenway Streets in Wickham.

Think of the potential itinerary!

Active & Outdoors

“I would high recommend the Bathers Way walk. It’s quite popular now, but it’s definitely worth getting up early to soak in the gorgeous view and check out all the beaches along the way.” — Jaimee

“Literally any ocean pool. I know Sydney’s got the Coogee and Maroubra Baths, but nothing comes close to the Merewether Ocean Baths, The Bogey Hole, The Soldier’s Baths or Ladies Baths.” — Sarah

Also worth a recommendation is Glenrock State Conservation Area for activities like mountain biking and traversing gorgeous rocky terrains (hello, adrenaline junkies).

On the more chill side of things, Blackbutt Reserve is also the perfect spot for a low-key picnic and wildlife spotting.

Sounds like there’s a whole dang bunch to do, hey? Before you start alerting the group chat to plan a weekender, check out all the great insider guides on how to spend time in the city.

You’ll probably land on even more gems Newy has to offer and find yourself petitioning to become an honorary local before you know it.

See you soon!

This article was originally published on Pedestrian TV