First published on 13 Feb 2011. Updated on 18 May 2011.
Bridging the gap between edgy Redfern and sleek Surry Hills, the Cleveland Cluster (as locals know it) is a micro suburb bursting with exciting new shops and cafes. The strip's stores are characterised by their owners' desires to provide something that Sydney lacks. "Redfern is undergoing a real metamorphosis," says Amelia Hepburn, the owner of Tea Parlour. "Our precinct is gritty and rough but full of interesting and creative people, probably what Surry Hills was like 10 years ago." Here are some highlights:
01. Tea Parlour
With high tea only served at boutique hotels and CBD tea rooms, the custom remains inaccessible for younger people. Turning tea around, Amelia Hepburn has opened her own parlour, Redfern style. She plays Biggie tunes, keeps the lights low and serves scones on fine china. If you're hungover on a Sunday afternoon, you can BYO bottle of champers from the pub next door and enjoy hair of the dog with your ham and cucumber sandwiches. 569 Elizabeth St, Redfern 2016. (0414 335 224). Wed–Sun 1–8pm.
02. Friends of Leon
The gallery provides an outlet for young, emerging artists to show their work to a crowd who love nothing more than Thursday night gallery openings. Leon curates five individual shows a year, focusing on female artists who depict the female form. 82 Marlborough St, Surry Hills 2010. (0403 248 978). Thu–Fri 11am–6pm; Sat 11am–2pm; or by appointment.
03. Garden Life
Garden Life can help you create a little slice of rainforest or a Japanese-style sanctuary. No backyard? The team have the perfect pots, beautiful candleholders and wall sculptures to spruce up any concrete 2x2. Evolving and adapting like a well designed garden, the store is now also home to Twig Café, who serve fresh, locally sourced produce in the quaint leafy courtyard. 357 Cleveland St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 8399 0666). Mon–Fri, 9am–5.30pm; Sat 9am–5.30pm; Sun 10am–4pm.
04. Bird Textiles Emporium
Visit Rachel at Bird Textiles for organic, hand-printed fabrics featuring charming designs. Produced entirely using sustainable practices, Rachel's furniture, homewares and crafts make the perfect earth-friendly gifts.
380 Cleveland St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 8399 0230). Tue–Fri 10am–6pm; Sat 10.30am–5.30pm.
If you a gift for that one cool friend who marches to the beat of her own drum, David Met Nicole will be your one-stop shop. It's a trove of beautiful furniture and eclectic vintage pieces in excellent condition. The store was born when David met Nicole in London. "When we returned to Australia, we found the vintage market almost non-existent in Sydney," explains Nicole. "So we decided to bring a little of that world here." 382 Cleveland St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 9698 7416). Mon–Sat 10.30am–5.30pm; Sun 12 noon–5pm.