If all goes to plan, District will live up to its name. With an application for night-time trading currently with the council, the Marrickville cafe aims to become an all-hours hub for the inner west’s queer community, inspired by similar spaces in Berlin that bridge the gap between club and cafe.
“Why shouldn't you be able to have breakfast in a place, hang in the courtyard with friends all day, then be dancing there later that night?” says owner Ash Houghton, who also runs Newtown’s Satellite and St Peter’s now-closed Velvet Garage. “I know that's a Euro thing, but why shouldn't Sydney be doing it too?”
Houghton has two applications underway: one to extend restaurant hours and one to become a licensed bar. Both involve DJs playing the sort of deep house you’d find throbbing through Kreuzberg at all hours, though in Marrickville the party would end at midnight. For Houghton, it’s a way to grow upon the Berlin-inspired vibe that District cultivates.
There’s club-like neon lights, mismatched antique furniture and kaleidoscopic wall murals of Joan Crawford and David Bowie by local artist Tiera Boo. It works, but it’s all slightly left-of-centre, which is very intentional. Houghton wants to help keep Sydney open and keep Marrickville weird.
“Queer venues are super rare in Sydney at the moment,” says Houghton. “The Bearded Tit is my favourite, but there's nothing else that really compares, unless you go to the pop-up festivals and warehouse gigs that do cater to us. We’ve been pushed to the side with gentrification, and it’s time we fought back.”
Since opening last November, it’s carved out its place in Marrickville’s cafe scene. Instead of aiming to match the finesse of Coffee Alchemy or Cornersmith’s produce-driven menu, District creates atmosphere foremost, backed up with charismatic service and a tight Middle-Eastern-leaning menu.
Cafe classics are shaken up by bold, earthy flavours. Servings are generous, whether scrambled eggs on Brickfields sourdough with corn tamales and muhammara (a hot Syrian pepper dip), or the Sage Rage, a potato rosti with smoked trout, salsa verde and creamy chèvre. Coffee is from local roaster the Golden Cobra.
107 Addison Road, Marrickville
(02) 8065 4572
Mon to Sun 9am–4pm