Posted by & filed under 2008, Best of Sydney.

Best Locally Crafted Furniture Shop: Wildwood Designs Stanmore *READER PICK*
Locally crafted handmade furniture is a real treasure and can become a family heirloom you’ll want to pass on to kin in future. Peter Crutchfield and Juliet Barr at Wildwood allow you to express your personality through wood in consultation with their expert crafts-folk, on hand to help you experience wood in ways you may not have thought possible. For over ten years, Wildwood have embraced environmental sustainability by using recycled, reclaimed and plantation forest timber, finishing each piece with lacquers approved by the Furniture Industry Association of Australia. Almost half of Wildwood’s orders are custom-made, so get creative and see what transpires.
78 Parramatta Road, Stanmore (02) 9557 7770 STM

Best Import Shop: Macleay on Manning *READER PICK*
Scouting around for the ultimate gift for the person who has everything is tiresome but at Macleay on Manning it’s a snap. Mind you these are the kinds of gifts you’ll want to keep for yourself, so be warned! Wall to wall funk appears in every colour and design under the sun with an eye-popping array of home-wares and goodies, some from top designers. Sonia Rykiel cushion covers’ No problem. Kenzo tumblers for those pre-dinner cocktails’ Done. Stelton cutlery’ We hear you. Oh and there’s a gift registry available for special occasions.
Shop 1, 85 Macleay Street, Potts Point (02) 9331 4100 STM

Best New White Goods: Winning Appliances, Redfern *READER PICK*
Shopping for whitegoods may not be THE most glamourous adventure but Winning Appliances at least make it hassle-free. We like the choice of six showrooms around Sydney and the sheer breadth of product available. The Winning family have retained ownership of the biz since it was established in 1906 and uphold the service-oriented approach with free delivery, free removal of your old appliances, free removal of packaging-waste from your new purchase and free connection of fridges or washing machines to existing plumbing. Sounds too good to be true’ There are even free cooking demonstrations in-store. A winning tale, no’
177 Phillip Street Redfern (02) 9698 8099 STM

Best Recycled White Goods: Fridges and Washers, Bondi *READER PICK*
The store-name may not be indicative but actually, every appliance from the kitchen to the laundry is covered at Benny Simantov’s family store. Recycled goods at outrageously affordable prices are the order of the day here, with a range of brands representing products in fine working order. Established for over eleven years, this store is a winner because the Simantovs are not only helping protect the environment by recycling, but because they are downright friendly and helpful. Delivery services are available so take a look today.
99 Hall Street, Bondi (02) 9300 9838 STM

Best New Age Shop: Todae *READER PICK*
Todae are all about environmentally friendly purchases in terms of solar power goods, energy-saving products, energy-efficient and LED lighting, organic skincare products, Eco Baby wear, ecologically sound cleaning products and earth-friendly stationery and office supplies’and more! Todae set a high standard in customer care and follow-through with advice and tips available about all of their top-of-the-line wares. Be inspired simply by visiting their space and finding out about new ways to save the planet and run your home or office more efficiently.
83 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (1300) 138 483 STM

Best Antique Shop (pre 1950): Martyn Cook Antiques *READER PICK*
Investing in antiques is ideally an experience to cherish and Martyn Cook and his team of experts make shopping for those signature pieces truly enjoyable. Every time I set foot inside their store I feel like I’ve been whisked off to a movie set straight off Dangerous Liaisons or Jane Eyre and that in itself is testimony to the fact that they stock only the best. Actually Cook specialises in late 18th and 19th century goods, so on my current shopping-list are their Late George III / Regency period mahogany settee and ebonised writing table’unless someone beats me to them. Serious collectors and those ‘just browsing’ are all welcome to visit their store but be warned ‘ hours slip by unnoticed amongst these treasures.
104 Queen Street, Woollahra (02) 9328 1801 STM

Best Retro (post 1950): RaRa Superstar *READER PICK*
The sexiest, hottest, gotta-have-it vintage is to be found at RaRa Superstar. Check out the store’s spring and summer gear before all of Sydney descends on the stock like a plague of locusts. Sun-frocks, essential 80s retro off-the-shoulder gowns, bikinis, shoes, jewellery’you name it ‘ RaRa have it; but be warned ‘ you may lose an afternoon or even a whole day browsing, trying EVERYTHING on and then working that plastic very, very hard. Get DOWN!
Shop 1, 137 Curlewis Street, Bondi (02) 9300 6080 STM

Best Fetish Shop: Gallery Serpentine *READER PICK*
Fantasies are fulfilled amidst the epic range of goods at Gallery Serpentine. Visualising yourself decked out in full Mortitia garb’ Harbouring desires to step out dressed as The Crow’ Marilyn Manson’ Look no further than this store ‘ they honestly have every kind of corset, silk or satin waistcoat, pvc ball-gown, top hat and cane or Victorian/Gothic jewellery fathomable. There’s plenty of menswear as well and each piece is lovingly handmade and will last for years of fetish fun and frivolity.
112-116 Enmore Road, Enmore (02) 9557 5821 STM

Best Deli: The Deli, Potts Point
Quality food for busy people – if you’re cash rich and time poor (or lacking in inspiration), then this is the place for you. The food all looks home made, so if you want to fool a potential suitor into thinking you’re a domestic goddess, why not plan your menu here. Being a restaurant reviewer, my idea of a great night out has adjusted a little, and I can’t think of anything better than packing a picnic-in-the-lounge room from the laden shelves and groaning counter of this gorgeous little deli.
Shop 5, 65 Macleay Street, Potts Point (02) 9358 1266 JM

Best Organic Food Shop: Bondi Organic Food Market *READER PICK*
Every week the best place to pick up organic foods is at the various sites of the Organic Food Markets. Best prices and value, best quality and range, plus friendly service mean these markets are unbeatable. Since 1995 when the first Australian version of Brit Elizabeth Taylor’s (NOT the US actress) concept opened in French’s Forest, the market has evolved and expanded exponentially. Now there are nine locations in as many suburbs around Sydney rendering this group of markets your number one place to go organic, but you’ll still find me at Bondi!
Oxford Street Mall, Oxford Street, Bondi Junction (02) 9999 2226 STM

Best Health Food Shop: Macro Wholefoods, Bondi Junction *READER PICK*
Macro set the standard for health suppliers and organic fruit and veg sellers twenty-two years ago and is expanding exponentially under the eagle eyes of owner/investors Pierce Cody and Brett Blundy (the brains behind Sanity Music and Bras n Things). Macro’s loyal followers flock to pick up supermarket goods, environmentally sound cleaning products and every kind of certified-quality organic produce and health product imaginable. The store runs on the philosophy that the shoppers’ experience should be in keeping with the wholesome feeling promoted by the goods on sale. Ohhhm! Maybe this is why the store has picked up several prestigious awards over the years. Pop in and stock up on healthy treats, skincare goods and organic pet foods then chill in the funky café area.
31-37 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction (02) 9389 7611 STM

Best Place to Get Waxed: V Beauty *READER PICK*
Vera Tanovic is the queen of wax. Her gleaming white salon will attest to how finicky she is about cleanliness and perfection, so there’ll be no need to get out the tweezers when you get home from your Brazilian. To a product queen like myself, I appreciate that she buys (and uses in the salon) a quality range like Dermalogica ‘ I wouldn’t use anything else. While she concentrates on your short and curlies, feel free to regale her with tales of your mere male’s latest brilliance. It’s quid pro quo with tales of her own, and she has surprisingly down-to-earth advice. Have a one-hour treatment, and save on the need for a therapist. Don’t be afraid to ask for the landing strip of your dreams, she’s heard everything, and has even fashioned a Christmas tree. Ho. Ho. Ho.
2/30 Kings Lane, Darlinghurst (02) 9332 1144 JM

Best Men’s Haircut under $25: Jack the Barber *READER PICK*
Our publisher tells me that the barber is important place in the black American community, it’s the hub where you go to find out the news, hear secret men’s business. Not being a man, I am not able to tell you if that’s the case at Jack’s, your winning barber, but I would appreciate a report! They have two professional men’s salons in the city, and say: ‘it took years of preparation and commitment to arrive in the top end of the city.”
627 George Street, Sydney OR 70 Hunter Street, Sydney (02) 9280 1009 JM

Best Men’s Haircut under $30: Grand Royal Barbers *READER PICK*
Henry Lawson deified the inner city barber thus in his epic poem The Man from Ironbark: ‘The barber man was quick and flash as barbers mostly are…he wore a strike-your-dandy sash; he smoked a huge cigar’. Barbers may mostly work smoke-free these days but the feeling of a good old fashioned shave and a haircut in a retro-style salon is something I’m told is hard to beat. The Grand Royal Barbers in the CBD welcome walk-in customers and can provide a ‘cut-throat razor’ traditional shave upon request. The haircuts are neat, slick, fast and affordable ‘ the Grand Royal Barber’s ‘clipper cut and hot towel’ price is only $25. Check it out, but keep it under your hat so you’ll always get a seat.
Shop 2A, 10 Spring Street, Sydney (02) 9221 8886 STM

Best Under $5 Shop: Smart Dollar *READER PICK*
Most of the stuff at Smart Dollar is under $5 and anything that isn’t is still damn cheap. Mr Chen, the proprietor, tells us that half of the goods are from his native China and the rest are from Australia. This may account for the sheer eclecticism of stock and the surprisingly good quality of most items ‘ it’s all in the mix. Giftware, giftwrap and cards, ribbons, photo frames, candles, Buddha statues, yoga mats, watches, jewellery, household goods’this store has well-chosen items at a fraction of the regular price. Be surprised at Smart Dollar!
183 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst (02) 9380 7087 STM

Best Leather Apparel: Sax Fetish *READER PICK*
Most people in Sydney who’ve ever chosen to walk on the wild side, have probably bought their first leathers at Sax Fetish. A cross-over institution coming out of the fetish fashion world, their phenomenally diverse range of leather gear ‘ from jeans to gimp masks ‘ means that there really is something for everyone, whether rocker or kinkster. Their colourful staff are as diverse and exciting as their product range, leading you through the uses and abuses of products we couldn’t even mention here. And Rani is hot!
110a Oxford Street, Darlinghurst (02) 9331 6105 JM

Best Shoe Shop: Max’s Shoes Bondi *READER PICK*
A lady never reveals her age nor her shoe size and while many ladies will neither reveal the locale of their favourite shoe stores, we’ll make an exception this time. Max’s are a perennial fav. purely because they stock just about every style you could ever need in every colour imaginable. At Max’s think fun, daywear, evening wear and’bargain prices in men’s and women’s styles! Be early in the season if your hoofs are extreme sizes’otherwise feast your eyes on a veritable cornucopia of footgear year-round.
118 Campbell Parade, Bondi (02) 9300 9838 STM

Best Women’s Apparel: Carla Zampatti *READER PICK*
The Zampatti empire clinches yet another award and again this season, showcases fashion mastermind Carla’s daughter Bianca Spender’s sexy take on women’s clobber. As modeled by ‘It Girl’ Miranda Kerr in the stunning DJs catalogue (shot in Rio ‘ no less) Spender’s orange-shorts are the ‘must-have’ garment of summer. For those less willing ‘ or let’s be honest – able ‘ to sashay in short-shorts, Carla’s flowing, yet tailored, skirts, blouses and dresses are much more forgiving and timelessly stylish. Where else can you consistently find investment-pieces with a cut this good’ Team them with daytime bling and you’re out the door looking super-hot yet ultra-cool.
Level 4, Westfield Shopping Centre, 500 Oxford St, Bondi Junction (02) 9619 1295 STM

Best Men’s Apparel: Arthur Galan AG *READER PICK*
Established in 1998, Arthur Galan AG is a Melbourne-based clothing brand with five stores in its hometown and Sydney. Frequently showcased in men’s fashion spreads in top mags, Arthur Galan AG’s big signature piece is paisley shirts. AG is carried by large department stores such as David Jones nationally and abroad (with women’s wear as well) and graces the racks of Lane Crawford, Tangs and Harvey Nichols. Why not swing by the Oxford Street store to be kitted out in style post haste’
422 Oxford Street, Sydney CBD, (02) 9332 4777 STM

Best New Books: Ariel Paddington *READER PICK*
Every time I step inside Ariel I know I’m gonna blow wads of cash but I love it because it’s always an investment. Ariel waste no inch of space on any book that isn’t ESSENTIAL and fans of design, art, fashion, architecture, art-criticism, fiction, children’s books and travel tomes will drool over each well-selected title. Plus they stock new-releases faster than almost any other store in Sydney. Guaranteed hours of fun in Paddington, whether browsing or buying.
42-44 Oxford Street, Paddington (02) 9332 4581 STM

Best Used Books: Gleebooks Glebe *READER PICK*
Gleebooks is known internationally as one of Sydney’s must-visit bookstores. The friendly staff are well-familiar with each category ranging from art, politics, fiction and more. Disappear for a few hours browsing the jam-packed shelves in peace and quiet. Regular author Question-and-Answer evenings and lecture series make this store come alive. Get on the mailing list so you don’t miss the next one! Meanwhile, check out the annex section for kids’ books and an impressive array of second-hand titles.
49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (02) 9660 2333 STM

Best Hardware Store: Bunnings *READER PICK*
They say the best place to meet the man of your dreams is at your cousin’s wedding’or in the large-tools section of the hardware store. Whether playing the bimbo role and cruising the shoppers, or shopping seriously for hardware goods, Bunnings is THE place to go no matter which side of the particle-board your nails are on! Bunnings are nationwide and known for having extremely knowledgeable, helpful staff – but the reason they are consistently numero uno is that they have every conceivable gadget and widget you could need to renovate your abode.
Cnr Bourke Road & Gardeners Road, Mascot (02) 9700 8599 STM

Best Pet Shop (Furry): Bowhouse *READER PICK*
Based in Bondi, Bowhouse caters for discerning cat and dog lovers with state of the art gadgets and products at reasonable rates. Boasting the cheapest vet goods in town (with brands such as Frontline Plus, Sentinel Spectrum and more on offer) Bowhouse also offer fresh or dry/frozen goodies for your furry pals including top brands like Science Diet, Eagle Pack and Ziwi Peak to name a few. Thinking of a new accessory for your pet’ Check out the mind-blowing range of leashes, collars, toys, beds and grooming goods from local and international brands or pick up pet-inspired cards, books and dvds at fabulous prices.
Shop 4, 2a Jacques Avenue, Bondi (02) 9300 9390 STM

Best Pet Shop (Finned): Aquadisiac Surry Hills *READER PICK*
If you fancy decking out your pad a la James Bond Dr Noh style, with the full on fish tank feature, why don’t you pop in to Aquadisiac and do it right’first time round’ It’s easy to rush ahead and set up a water-world for your finned-friends only to have it flounder weeks later because of bad pH levels or (quelle horreur!) incorrect temperatures. Don’t let your exotic pals go neglected ‘ the team at this store are well-versed in helping you create the Master Tank that’ lasts.
545a Bourke Street Surry Hills (02) 9360 2782 STM

Best Butcher: AC Butchery *READER PICK*
A NYC Post-Punk Vegan site have listed the AC Butchery’s cartoon-style sign as something of note to those of the ‘meat-is-murder’ persuasion, but those who persist in karmic risk-taking will love what this Leichhardt shop has in store. AC Butchery have a reputation for being super-friendly, efficient and fast (to the customers that is; not the animals who died but that’s another story). Freshness, quality-pricing and generous portions are what keeps the fans coming back for more. Curious’ Drop in to their Marion Street outlet and see for yourself.
174 Marion Street, Leichhardt (02) 9569 8687 STM

Best Sporting Goods Store:
Rebel Sports *READER PICK*
Hype and cheesy advertising had put me off setting foot inside Rebel for months until, in search of a yoga mat, I gingerly opened the door and ventured in. What I thought would be a sickening mélange of badly-designed workout clothes and annoying staff turned out to be an oasis of sports essentials and assistants full of charm. Hunks representing every nation fetched every kind of yoga mat imaginable, not content to rest until Her Highness had tested out each one, smiling all the while and, in the case of one particularly handsome jock, even cracking a few very witty jokes. Tee hee. The mat turned out to be deluxe and the pricing, perfect. I even spotted some truly sexy clobber for the gym’ so I’ll be back. Double thumbs up Rebel ‘ you’ve earned this award!
1-21 Bay Street, Broadway Shopping Centre, Broadway (02) 9211 5511 STM

Best Bike Shop: Clarence Street Cyclery *READER PICK*
Tight lycra your thing’ Can’t get enough of the wind in your hair and the exhilarating feeling of overtaking convoys of semi-trailers on the freeway’ Addicted to mountain-biking while listening to some heavy duty dub and reggae on your I-pod in the wilderness’ Then get into Clarence Street Cyclery for assistance. The staff in this store are not only deeply versed in the various mysteries of all things cyclesque, but downright chipper and easy-going to boot. Bikes of all types and sizes are on display, plus all of the accessories you’ll need to pull of THE look.
104 Clarence Street, Sydney (02) 9299 4962 STM

Best CDs: Red Eye Records *READER PICK*
Red Eye’s hard working staff are committed to delivering the most comprehensive range of new and second-hand cds, dvds and vinyl in town. With three inner city locations you can find what you want with ease and if not, they’ll gladly order it in for you. Take the time when I ordered a rare cd from Germany with an extremely embarrassing title ‘ the discreet Red Eye staff didn’t bat an eyelid and instead dutifully arranged the import in a matter of days. Brilliant! Check out the range of rock accessories available including must-have badges with Ace and friends from ‘Kiss’.
66 King Street Sydney (02) 9299 4233 STM

Best Vinyl: Phoenix Music *READER PICK*
The Presets insisted their new release be available on vinyl. Fans of the luxurious feeling of vinyl in their hands know why. Besides, the creative possibilities to which the fabulous sizing of LP records in terms of cover-art lends itself are limitless. Imagine if ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ had only ever been available with a cd-sized cover image’ Ewww! Or those unforgettable Boney M glamour shots’ It just isn’t the same unless its vinyl. Phoenix Music understand your fetish and won’t judge you for spending hours sighing over their collection in Potts Point. Be warned however that the prices are extremely reasonable so bring several carry-bags if you plan to visit.
121 Macleay Street, Potts Point (02) 9331 6088 STM

Best Late Night Convenience Store: Night Owl, Darlinghurst *READER PICK*
Like a discreet valet, a late-night convenience store proprietor is privy to the details of one’s most intimate late-night quests. Quick trips ‘ in various states of serenity and with any manner of guests in tow – to secure prophylactic purchases or surreptitious errands in which to splurge on Pringles and ciggies all fall within their ken. The Night Owl staff in Darlinghurst have seen it all and know how to keep their smiling mouths shut. Nice one. Keep it up guys!
274 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst (02) 9380 9182 STM

Best Independent Newsagent: Kings Cross Newsagency *READER PICK*
Chock full of every top title and open 24-7, this is our favourite newsagent. Stocking all manner of mags in almost every language, this is THE place to pick up your advance-order copies of Italian Vogue or Truckers’ Monthly’whatever takes your fancy, you will certainly find it here. Another great thing is that they don’t seem to mind if you browse for hours at a time only to buy Tic Tacs as you leave. I often race in to buy calligraphy ink, paper for my printer and the latest copy of The New Yorker and the staff are extremely nice, every time. Stick around late on a Friday night to pick up the weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald early and you’re bound to bump into someone famous or just super-hot.
101 Darlinghurst Road, King Cross (02) 9380 9182 STM

Best Non-Religious Op Shop: Cat Protection Society *READER PICK*
The Cat Protection Society in Enmore not only do a fabulous job of taking care of our four-legged friends but they also have a shit-hot op shop you really must see. Why’ All of the proceeds go to assisting with the adoption of hundreds of cats every year, protecting them from abandonment and its possible outcomes. Just opposite the Enmore Theatre, the Op Shop is run by volunteers (who incidentally get first-pick of all the great stuff’so why not volunteer’) and is full of great clothes and knick-knacks. Drop in, pick up a bargain and see how you can help.
105 Enmore Road, Enmore (02) 9516 2072 STM

Best Place to get Tattooed: Sleevemasters *READER PICK*
When my friend John casually walked in the door one evening with a gorgeous new tattoo on his shoulder, I couldn’t believe how chilled out he was about this new addition. Basically he told me the reason was that the guy who had done it was super calm and created an environment where it was easy to relax and not only choose the perfect tat, in your own time and allow the magic to happen. Unhurried, super-sterile, relaxed, professional and fun. The place’ Sleevemasters in the Cross, since 1984, open from noon til 4am every day so apparently there’s no need ‘to make an appointment!’
2/44 Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross STM

Best Place to get Pierced: Steel Lotus Body Arts Australia *READER PICK*
If you could pierce any part of your body right now, what would it be’ Why not take a look through the display photos at Steel Lotus for some super-creative ideas and then’get pierced in style! Since 1998 this studio has presented every kind of imaginable piercing at reasonable rates. Tattoos are also on the menu here and the atmosphere is clean, fun and friendly. After-care is a specialty and the location is easy to get to by taking a bus to Oxford Street and walking over down to the store.
174 Crown Street, Darlinghurst (02) 9326 0555 STM

Best Hotel (Budget): Atlas Serviced Apartments *READER PICK*
My partner and I live in one of those fabulous converted warehouses. We love it, except when we have relatives from out of Sydney come to stay. That’s when the sheen can rub off open plan living. Since we pay a lot of cash to live with an empty void around us, we can’t really afford to put up family in five star luxury; and well you can’t stick them in a Formula One either. The Atlas Serviced Apartments however make them think you care, without breaking the budget, plus they can take themselves to Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay, The Entertainment Centre, China Town and an expansive network of commercial enterprise in Sydney’s CBD and meet you for lunch, saving you the added torture of getting up early on your day off.
131-133 Murray Street, Pyrmont (02) 8507 0180 JM

Best Hotel (Midrange): Cambridge Hotel *EDITORIAL PICK*
Your best friend lives in Penrith, so it’s a long drive home, and she’s boring when she doesn’t drink, but you’re not exactly going to end up in bed together (she’s not that kind of friend). It’s times like these that you need a hotel a hop, skip and a jump from club land, that’s clean, has style, and won’t break the budget. From the number of votes, I was about the only person not let in on the secret. The Cambridge Hotel is the perfect place to stay in your own city, and not clean up the mess.
212 Riley Street, East Sydney (02) 9212 1111 JM

Best Photography Shop: The Photo Studio *READER PICK*
Yep, we skipped a category, but as so many of our readers seem to be budding photography buffs, you all ignored our list and voted for this business, so we got the hint. So if you have photographic needs ‘ perhaps a high end studio, on-site or location services ‘ get thee to The Photo Studio, whether you’re a commercial or a private photographer.
5 Franklyn Street, Broadway (02) 9571 9955 JM