When you think about Sydney’s coffee scene, lively inner-city neighbourhoods like Surry Hills and Darlinghurst spring to mind faster than the leafy Lower North Shore. But there’s a good – and growing – cafe culture north of the Bridge, and these are the top 10 places around North Sydney to grab a quality cup of coffee.
Literally floating on Sydney Harbour at the Kirribilli ferry wharf, Celsius is one of the city’s most unique coffee shops. The chilli buttered eggs and Angus beef brisket burger are crowd-pleasers, but coffee-lovers squeeze into this postage-stamp-sized cafe for the uninterrupted water views from one of the window seats.
Located in the heart of North Sydney’s busy business district, The Roots takes its coffee seriously, serving a variety of single origins to go with their menu of inventive salads and generous sandwiches. The hole-in-the-wall coffee shop is also neighboured by a bar, The Roots Next Door – located, predictably, just next door – serving wine, cocktails and bar food by night.
Stroll down the laneway beside the northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and you’ll spot this industrial coffee joint from the bike parked out the front of graffitied roller doors. Bay Ten has re-energised an old storage space just north of the Bridge with the aroma of speciality coffee, a simple menu loaded with baked goods and a dedicated following of cyclists and locals alike.
A short walk from the Crows Nest cappuccino strip along Willoughby Road sits a tiny cafe that brews some of the North Shore’s best coffee. Opening its doors in 2015, Cavalier has turned its minimalist shopfront into one of the highlights of North Sydney’s coffee scene, curating a refined menu that’s just as small as the dining space and every bit as good.
The brains behind the Boathouse Shelly Beach and the Boathouse Palm Beach further up the coast rejuvenated this formerly ho-hum venue in 2013, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since. The Boathouse Balmoral Beach – overlooking the sand from the picturesque Balmoral Boatshed – serves a light menu to accompany their coffee and fresh juices… just what you feel like during a day at the beach.
Cool Mac isn’t your average Kirribilli coffee shop, adding a Japanese twist to your traditional bacon and eggs. Grab some ramen, rice soup, a sous-vide chicken sandwich, roasted eggplant benedict or the famous sriracha-sauced bacon-and-egg roll to go with your Campos coffee at this colourful Burton St institution.
Where to start describing the 67 Union St Deli, which is as popular for the fresh produce and homewares on sale as it is for the coffee and takeaway sandwiches. This homely two-level deli just down the road from the hustle and bustle of North Sydney serves a generous and affordable breakfast and lunch menu as well as consistent single origin coffee.
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This charming corner cafe is always well populated with coffee-lovers slurping away in the North Sydney sunshine, feasting on a mouth-watering American burger, fresh seasonal salads or a summery açaí salad. Just across the road with even more tables on the footpath, Eighty Ate also pours a nice cup of coffee.
Double Cross is one of the stars of Crows Nest’s lengthy strip of cafes, with uber-friendly staff brewing quality beans roasted by Darlinghurst favourites Edition Coffee Roasters. The Asian fusion menu is also a highlight, dishing up burgers, brekkie classics and delicate desserts with a distinctly Asian flavour.
Cammeray also boasts its fair share of good cafes and Laneway is the pick of the bunch, with a breezy outdoor area extending a converted garage into one of the Lower North Shore’s coolest spots for a long lunch. The hearty menu complements the signature coffee as well as a cheeky tipple if you’re keen to extend your stay in the sunny courtyard.