Down Under Series: Favorite Cafes in Sydney

Australia is known for its third wave coffee culture and all day brunch scene. This is quickly evident in Sydney where every street and district has its coffee spot, brunch place...Or BOTH. Throughout my nearly 6 month stay, I scoured Sydney for cafes and these are a few of my favorite spots.

1. QVB Jet Bar Caffè 
Address: Queen Victoria Building, 55/455 George St. 

Situated in Queen Victoria Building or commonly known as QVB in Town Hall, this building was built as a monument for Queen Victoria in 1898 and has long been turned into a mall but still retaining it's beautiful architecture.
Jet Bar is found right before the building entrance which you can't miss. It's right across the beautiful Sydney Town Hall and gives you the perfect spot to relax, people watch and enjoy your cup of coffee. 

My amazing cousin brought me here upon my arrival and my first stop upon setting foot in the city. It was the best greeting and anticipation for the adventures to come, not to mention that their baristas look like Calvin Klein models on their day off. 
2. The Grounds of the City 
Address: Shop RG 12, 500 George St.

Right in the middle of Sydney CBD, and just right next to the iconic QVB and Town Hall, there is a gem of a coffee find - The Grounds in the City. Unlike its more popular sister in Alexandria, this cafe is much more accessible and still instagrammable AF. Upon entering, you instantly notice the ambiance of the place, totally different from the usual cafes. It has a dim moody lighting more suitable for romantic dinner dates. 
The place was packed full of people. You can opt to enjoy your coffee inside but if you prefer your peace and quiet with a side of people watching, they have a nice takeaway corner outside with a booth to request your order without the need to go in. 
I ordered a mocha latte and flat white, both didn't disappoint but between the two I would recommend the mocha latte. They served it deconstructed style, allowing you to customise your espresso, milk and cocoa ratios. Knowing me, I just poured it all in! You can also order proper meals, dessert and cocktails but be forewarned its on the pricier side so I stuck to coffee and I'm HAPPY.
3. The Pool Cafe 
Address: 94 Marine Parade, Maroubra

A short walk from Maroubra Beach is a not-so-secret local hotspot and if you're not into getting sand in your bum then you will definitely prefer to enjoy your swimming session and sunbaking in Mahon Rock Pool. 
Maroubra has a reputation as a great surfing destination. It has even spawned an infamous surfing subculture, but for those chill swimmers like me who want to relax and enjoy the water - this is your spot.
What makes this all the more perfect is just across from its grassy lawn is a corner cafe called The Pool Cafe. It serves Campos Coffee which is my absolute fave beans. You can order from their brunch menu and choose to stay inside or in their outdoor seating where you can watch surfers on ther way to the beach, girls in bikinis, dogs walking their humans or 'bra boys greeting each other on the street.
4. Room 10 Cafe
Address: 10 Llankelly Place, Potts Point

The first time I went to Sydney, King's Cross and Potts Point were known as a red light and junkie district. People were alarmed when they found out I've been there already, saying 'it's not a safe place there'. 

This time around, the area looked rehabilitated and different from the Kings Cross of ages ago. It's more of a hip, artsy and some would even say elevated part of Sydney, with home grown entrepreneurs setting shop and small intimate restos and cafes. I came upon a small laneway while walking about, the place was full and happy me found out it was a cafe. Being adverse to queueing, I didn't line up and went ahead my merry way.
After my Potts Point walkathon, I needed to rest my weary feet and get a quick energy boost. I said why don't we check it again and fortunately, it was far less crowded and I took my chance and got a seat! 
Room 10 is tiny, as in 10 to 15 sqm tiny, cafe but what it lacks in space it compensates for its coffee and vibe. The perfect hole in the wall cafe. People order out and drink on the side alley or al fresco. The kitchen consists of the half part of their shop and you can see your orders being prepared. I enjoyed the smoothness and blend of their coffee and not to mention, their cups are so cute and photogenic. This place is highly recommended and one of my happy discoveries.
5. Gertrude and Alice
Address: 1/46 Hall St, Bondi Beach

I met up with one of my close friends studying in Sydney. Knowing my love for coffee - she took me here and boy, was I glad. The place is fairly close, a walking distance from the beach. I was delighted to be shown this combination of bookstore slash cafe, two of my favorite things in the world. 
Upon entering, you'll see the counter, menu and pastry options. Going in further, you'll enter the inner sanctum and be greeted by books left and right. Books are everywhere from ceiling to floor, and I mean that literally. I was in heaven and honestly could spend the whole day there.
I had a lovely time with my friend but truth be told, the place is more susceptible for quiet 'Me-Times' than chatty catch ups that might disturb other customers enjoying their peace (and their books).
I found out that there's an interesting history behind the name of the cafe. It was named after writers Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, further stamping how perfect it is for the modern bibliophiles.

6. The Grounds of Alexandria 
Address: 7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria

This was a bucket list cafe stop for my Sydney trip. I've seen the posts and also noticed that it's on every Sydney's Must Try Cafe list. I wanted to check it for myself, if the high expectation did indeed match reality. I would suggest going during the weekend since they have a weekly farmer's market with fresh produce, flowers etc giving off a very energetic vibe. The Grounds is also known to have specially themed decors from Alice in Wonderland to Easter and even an Elton John Yellow Brick Road installation. 
Unfortunately, I went there on a weekday afternoon and wasn't able to experience the hustle and bustle but it was still captivating. The Grounds of Alexandria is located in an old Industrial area and there are still remnants of it but the place itself is highly Instagrammable, every corner is a potention photo shoot spot that even in their toilet you can take pictures and it will scream "FASYOWN!". 
They set up a roaring bonfire in a wheelbarrow after sunset with marshmallows available on the side. It's available for customers waiting to be seated or just those passing by. Of course, I tried one or three but keep that between us. I met the infamous Kevin Bacon, not the actor, but their dashing house pet and restaurant mascot.
Just like in their City counterpart, prices are on the higher end especially for budget travellers like me. But I'd say its well worth it. Food was fresh, beautifully presented and delicious, all this capped off with a delicious cup of freshly ground coffee and you'll leave smiling. 

7. Cuckoo Callay on Crown
Address: 413 Crown St, Surry Hills

Another one of my surprising coffee finds. Cuckoo Callay is a quirky cafe offering colorful fusion menu. It's located in Surry Hill which is known for its cool cafes and abundant LGBTQ+ community. I attempted a coffee hop previously but unbeknownst to me, cafes in Australia are usually closed by 3 or 4 pm. I'm more used to the Philippines with their 24 hr coffee culture, or atleast until the late evening. 
This time, finding Cuckoo was unplanned, I had such a wonderful time that I went back there a couple more times just to enjoy my coffee and chill. Its location is very accessible, just a few steps aways from my bus stop. There are 2 parks in its vicinity with the Clock Towel Hotel and Surrey Hills Library surrounding it - making it ideal for a lazy Sunday lounge to enjoy your coffee.
Cuckoo Callay's coffee is really good, add to that their prices are cheaper than most cafes and best of all they have the most aesthetically pleasing designed cups. Its hot pink logo and lid with the graffiti like design all over the cup, it's one of the most beautiful artsy takeaway cups I've seen.
You can say Sydney spoiled my coffee cravings and gave me literal caffeine highs. Heck, even their 711 coffee are surprisingly good. No joke! For $1, you can enjoy good coffee, relax in Hyde Park and chill for a while. I'm not sure if it's the weather, my mood and just the fact that I can while away my time. 

My coffee loving heart has fallen in love with the coffee and cafes in Sydney. I even took Barista coffee classes to educate myself, learn more and further appreciate coffee. Melbourne was a different coffee culture and scene altogether - and that as they say is for another story. 


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