I am a freelance writer for a range of lifestyle magazines, Executive Producer of the John Laws Show on Radio 2SM Sydney and a busy personal trainer.
Published May 11th 2011
Few people would lament the makeover of Danks Street, Waterloo. Just over five years ago, this street ran down the spine of one of Australia's top 20 most disadvantaged suburbs. Housing Commission flats made up the bulk of accommodation, most of the residents were on some form of welfare and there was a certain bleakness to the place.
Today, Danks Street feels like something lifted from a New York style guide, the Lower East Side, gentrified, stylish but absolutely, never ever showy. Danks Street is so cool that unless you have had the good taste to seek out artisan bakers or organic designer food or a rather obscure art gallery and stumbled on it, you really wouldn't know it was there.
A walk down Danks Street, without stopping, would take you five minutes. There's not much of it. It's not Newtown's King Street or Paddington's Oxford Street. But pound for pound, metre for metre, Danks Street is the crème de la crème of groove.
2 Danks Street is the old Kodak factory, now home to ten – yes count them ten – art galleries, a fine arts dealer, a jewellery maker and a cafe and bar.
Nearby, the Danks St Deport houses a stylish upmarket cafe, bistro and cocktail bar, decked out in industrial and recycled chic.
If you can't get in there, try the Wah Wah lounge with an astonishing wallpaper reminiscent of your grandma's Sixties kaftans. Again, how cool.
Warehouse Five is the bench mark for recycled, industrial chic residential living, gentrified as part of the City of Sydney's $2 billion Green Square redevelopment project.
Fratelli Fresh – well, let's just say this is where the Master Chef people shop.
artisan bread with your gourmet delicacies
You want choice? It will take you all afternoon to sift through the endless array of vinegars, olive oils, bespoke breads, organic fruit and vegetables, sauces and condiments. There's an Italian provedore, a cafe and a cooking school all under one roof.
sumptuous gourmet delights
You want quality? Got it. You want gourmet? Got it. You want ultra chic shopping? Got it.
The happy-clapper inner city headquarters of the Hillsong Church sits proudly at one end of the street, just to add another surprise.
There's still enough grit and grime around Waterloo to give the suburb character and authenticity. Let's not forget that the less fortunate are not there because they want to add realism to your adventure, but let's just say the contrast in this small suburb is an example of the unbelievable pace and acceptance of gentrification.
The experience is a joy. This is a destination shopping expedition. Soak it up, lap it up. It's just sheer luxury.
What a great article! I never even really knew where Waterloo was but now methinks I must investigate Danks Street, particularly Danks Street Depot. The food item that jumps down your throat on the home page of their website would have to be the most delicious piece of food photography I have seen!
By Dora Bona - senior reviewer Friday, 13th of May @ 09:50 pm
It's such a secretive little street but OMG! Thanks, Dora