Sydney has so many neighbourhoods that you can pretty much walk a block in any direction and the postcode has changed, so the actual area of Redfern isn't that large but spiritually it occupies a significant place on the map.  Within walking distance to Central and the CBD, Redfern has suffered from a bad reputation in the past due to the plethora of drug users and casual violence that used to go on.  This is in part because Redfern is traditional Aboriginal land, and as anyone with the most glancing knowledge of indigenous rights would know, poverty, substance abuse and crime are more frequent in native communities due to the disproportionately poor government care and infrastructure.  However in recent years Redfern has started to come into its own, the lower rent and proximity to universities bringing in several students, and an upsurge of cool bars and cafes making it a rival to neighbouring Surry Hills.

The Aboriginal influence on Redfern is still marked, from the population to the street art, various community centres and occasional protests.  The other majority group in Redfern, however, are the hipsters.  It took me probably less than a month after moving to the area to become immersed, and now the transition has been completed with a new trendy haircut.  This is again because of the students, the huge amount of young people living in the area, and the array of cool little spots to go out.

I could very easily write an entire post on where to eat and drink in Redfern but I would start waxing lyrical so maybe one paragraph should suffice.  Brunch is a big thing in Australian cities, I would never think to call someone up to go out for breakfast back in the UK yet here I do it easily once or twice a week.  Tapeo and Barn Door are two cafes on Redfern street that offer some tasty delights along the theme of eggs & bread etc.  In terms of bars my favourite is a tiny dingy place called The Dock near Redfern train station, but along the same street is The Bearded Tit (frequently ranked one of the best bars in Sydney) and Arcadia Liquors.  Sydney also seems to have this thing where a pub might look quite plain and basic from the outside, but inside actually has a cool interior and bartenders who know their shit.  The Norfolk Hotel (pictured here) on Cleveland St has a kind of Latin feel, good food deals and a fun vibe; The Rose Hotel further down the same street is suprisingly sprawly with loads of different beers on tap and a huge garden.

Of all the neighbourhoods I've lived in Sydney, Redfern is by far my favourite.  It's easy walking distance to other lovely suburbs like Newtown, Glebe or Surry Hills, the train station is one of the major junctions connecting you to the whole city, plus there are buses to all the beaches.  It's edgy and not too gentrified, the Aboriginal centre often organises community events and raises awareness of local issues.  There's an array of culinary (and boozy) delights a stone's throw away, plus if I feel like getting out of my comfort zone Crown St and other hubs of food & drink are easy to reach.  You pay more than you would out in a further suburb but most of my life is within walking distance so it evens out financially.  And the best thing of all - once you start frequenting the same places, soon enough you know everyone.  I've never lived in a village before but I feel like I've achieved that small town vibe, in the middle of Australia's biggest city - right up my alley!

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