It’s no secret Australians love their coffee. Some even plan their holidays around it (true story). Once known for its pubs on every corner, in Newcastle today you’re just as likely to find a great café.
Newy offers the best of both worlds – a coastal city with a fantastic beach culture and a café scene that punches well above its weight.
Here’s where to unearth some of Newcastle’s best.
Look for the (fast moving) queue of office workers grabbing their morning takeaway from Xtraction in Bolton Street. Tucked at the top of Bolton Street in Newcastle East, Bolton Street Pantry is a lot more than good coffee. Whether it's avo on toast and a piccolo or a brunch bowl and a long black, you won't want to miss this one.
Nearby is the more laidback Good Brother, younger sibling to Suspension in Islington (one of the city’s pioneering third wave cafes) which serves up its own house blend.
A block or so towards the beach meanwhile is Moor Newcastle East opposite Pacific Park, offering specialty coffee and a seasonal wholefoods menu. Coffee in hand, stroll over to Newcastle Beach and watch the surfers paddle out in Shark Alley.
Diagonally opposite the University of Newcastle’s city campus is New Slang from Alaric Daley (otherwise known as Al) of Union Coffee Roasters and his team of talented baristas. The coffee’s tight brunch menu hits the spot.
A few doors down the welcome is as warm as the $4 refills by Melbourne-based roaster Gridlock at the eclectic Press House. Grab a book and settle in or order a $2.50 standup espresso and exit through the hidden rear door to see a mix of interesting street art including Jordan Lucky’s beautiful new mural for Newcastle’s Big Picture Fest.
Alternatively grab a takeaway from Ground Floor or One Penny Black in the Hunter Street Mall and take a stroll along the harbour foreshore.
*While you’re in town pop in to the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre’s (VIC) new home at the former Civic Station. Along with helping visitors explore the best of Newcastle, you’ll find a range of products sourced from local makers and traders.
Fuel up at pooch friendly Dark Horse Espresso in the industrial heart of inner-city Wickham. Take a walk around the surrounding streets and check out the colourful street art.
Nearby on Downie Street in Maryville bakery heaven is found at Uprising Bakery. Try a cold brew and a house made treat (the lemon and white chocolate tart is to die for) and settle in at this minimalistic bakery come café with its industrial warehouse feel.
© Tyson Mayr at Uprising Bakery
Clyde Street Café is making waves over in Hamilton North with its fresh inspired menu and coffee by local roaster, Ellie from Tapestry Coffee Roasters. After coffee under the towering gum trees, check out the second hand furniture stores along Clyde Street. Or head to neigbouring Islington and browse the many vintage and antique stores found around the Maitland Rd end of Beaumont St.
It’s also well worth making the trek over the coal train line to Mayfield East for Equium Social which takes a plant based approach to its menu. Order a latte and you’re set for another day’s exploration.
Cross back over the rail tracks and in neighbouring Tighes Hill you’ll find the highly regarded Praise Joe where the coffee’s consistent and co-owner Phillip Gameson once cooked for the queen.
In the harbourside village of Carrington, both Café Inu and Ground Up serve up good coffee. Whilst in Carrington take a walk along the foreshore and explore the mangrove boardwalk, home to colony of bats, crabs and birdlife.
With an emphasis on local and house made, Corner House on the back streets of Cooks Hill pushes the boundaries of its compact kitchen. The coffee is from Single O. Afterwards check out Scandi homewares and clothing at Pappa Sven.
After browsing the boutiques and homeware stores along Darby Street, pop into Baba Yaga for coffee or traditional ice tea and baklava. The welcome is always warm from owner and barista Oscar Kilic.
Alternatively enjoy a swim at the beach and make a beeline for the Hood Milk Bar at the Junction. Grab a booth and order a well-earned flat white while the kids enjoy one of the house made gelatos or milkshakes.
Akuna Café is also found not far from Merewether Beach. This popular local café is known for its good coffee, wholefoods and kid friendly courtyard.
Goldberg’s Coffee House (also known as Goldys) has been operated along the Darby Street strip for more than a quarter of a century. It’s a local landmark and has a loyal following.
Steer away from the well-worn tourist trail for Corner Lane and Darks Coffee Roaster in New Lambton, Little Lane Espresso at Blackbutt shops (great before or after visiting Blackbutt Reserve) and Zaaki Espresso in Mayfield West.
Also keep an eye out for Brew Bike Nitro, serving up nitrogen infused single origin coffee martinis from a cargo bike at events throughout Newcastle.