22 year old lady, studying English & Writing at Newcastle University.
Published February 26th 2014
Fashion, home-wares, cafés, markets, buskers
I remember a few years ago when the Mall was somewhere most Novocastrians would avoid – full of empty shopfronts, tacky outlet stores, 'emo' youths pouting beneath black fringes (at one awkward stage I may have been one of them... shhh), sad tumbleweeds blowing lazily across the street, the occasional old man delivering furious and baffling sermons to passers-by and well-intentioned but irritating pamphlet people.
As a result of this lasting impression I hadn't visited the Mall in a long time, until recently when I was blown away by the transformation that it's undergone, thanks to the efforts of Renew Newcastle and the local creative community.
Fashion, home-wares, cafés, markets, buskers – the Mall's got the lot.
Sure, the pamphlet people are still there, and there are still some pretty unusual characters hanging about, but all this means is that the Mall has managed to keep its characteristic grittiness, while seemingly having changed dramatically.
Newcastle hipsters will rejoice at the clothing selection available in the Mall. There's The Lair, which sells a beautiful range of denim, cotton and leather go-to items, great shoes, jewellery and sunglasses, as well as covetable brands such as Lonely Label lingerie and fallenbrokenst hats. There is even an adorable resident pooch available for pats. CREAM, which also boasts stores in the trendy Surry Hills and Newtown suburbs in Sydney, sells re-sized and refitted retro clothing, as well as a fantastic selection of leather boots and bags. Nookstore stocks a great range of unique printed t-shirts, as well as other clothing items and accessories by local designers. Men will also love Rad Store for clothes, accessories, gifts, skateboards - you name it.
If you're not all shopped out by now, do yourself a favour and wander into the old David Jones building, which now hosts The Emporium, which is full of interesting pop up shops and exhibitions by local artists and designers.
For coffee and delicious food, there's Ground Floor, Cazador and One Penny Black, not to mention many more places for you to discover. Heading up the Mall is also the gateway into the burgeoning district of Newcastle East, with even more cafés, restaurants and bars for you to try. With so many fantastic options for places to eat/drink/shop it's almost overwhelming.
If all of this wasn't enough reason to go and check out the Mall, an exciting new night market has recently started up and is to be held on the second and fourth Friday of each month. Nocturnal Mall-goers can also now grab a drink at one of the small bars such as Cazador or Reserve, and afterwards wander up to Watt Street to check out the interesting light displays.