A Weekend in… Erskineville
From Erskineville Road to King Street and the web of narrow laneways, the neighbourhood affectionately known as Erko has maintained a friendly village vibe despite its steady evolution.
Once a hub for brick makers, tanners and market gardeners, Erskineville has been reinvented by creatives and white-collar professionals. The streetscapes have also undergone a dramatic change in recent years. Once dominated by character-rich worker’s cottages, Erskineville is now equally known for bright modern apartments, with the emergence of mass urban renewal area, Ashmore Precinct.
You may have caught glimpses of Erskineville behind Hugh Jackman in indie film Erskineville Kings, or seen its iconic Imperial Hotel in Priscilla, but nothing beats walking its pavements and soaking up the area’s unique atmosphere.
Start the weekend with a jog around Erskineville Oval, or join the locals on a bike ride around the neighbourhood – this suburb is home to one of Sydney’s most active cycling communities. You can catch your breath at Naked Brew, which serves all-day breakfast for human patrons, plus ‘domuts’ and doggie chinos for the furry ones.
For breakfast with an Israeli twist, wander up the road to Café Shenkin and warm up with their signature shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy sauce – or coffee with a traditional Israeli pastry.
Prepare a plan of attack to make the most of the Saturday property circuit in this popular patch of the inner west. If you have an apartment in mind, there are ample options, accounting for more than half of the property stock at a median price of $899,000. Houses sell for a median of $1.36 million, making Erskineville marginally more affordable than other parts of the City of Sydney.
Balance out the adult decision-making by indulging your inner-child at Foodcraft Espresso & Bakery. The café’s signature TellaBall Shakes whipped up a social media storm when launched a few years ago, and, dripping with syrup and topped with gooey doughnut balls, remain as decadent as ever.
Erskineville punches above its weight when it comes to atmospheric corner pubs, among them, renovated art deco beauty, the Rose of Australia. Keep it casual with classic pub fare downstairs, or head up to Howard’s Cantina and Cocktail Bar, for inventive share plates and cocktails.
If a grocery shop is on your weekend to-do list, check out Erskineville Farmers Markets. A recent addition to the inner-west market line-up, it’s open from 9am-2pm every Saturday at Erskineville Public School. Launched by four passionate locals, it has a distinct green mission, so take your own shopping bags and reusable coffee cup.
The southern end of King Street, nicknamed SoKi, partially falls within Erskineville’s border and is home to some of the strip’s newest and most interesting venues. While away the afternoon browsing through boutiques and antiques, and stop for a chat with Ravi and Della at Parliament on King, a café and meeting spot run from the couple’s living room. It offers friendly support for refugees and the homeless and serves a range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals from the home countries of the asylum seekers who now call our neighbourhood home.
Famed for its drag shows, performance art, live music and party atmosphere, The Imperial is undoubtedly Erskineville’s best-known attraction. Whether you opt for a plant-based dinner with a side of drag at Priscillas, or Italian specialities and disco tunes on the rooftop, there’s always time to boogie in the basement, with the venue rocking until 3am.
For a scintillating evening minus the sequins, round up a group of friends to experience The Cipher Room. Choose from a trio of vintage-themed rooms, solve a real-life puzzle using props and clues, and embrace the mental stimulation of an escape room challenge.
The inner west community has something for everyone. For more suburb guides, check out Alexandria, St Peters, Camperdown, Marrickville, and Eveleigh. If you are thinking of buying or selling in the area, take a look at what is happening in the inner west market post-election and Urbane’s approach to selling property.
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