No longer known as Sydney’s slower sister, Wollongong is making a name for itself with the cafes and bars of its main drag and surrounding laneways. Next time you want a mini-getaway, here’s where to eat, drink and shop.

EAT

His Boy Elroy
From the same owners as the cafe-boutique Lee and Me on Crown Street, His Boy Elroy is the grungier, American brother up the road. The bare concrete space and industrial fit-out is the right amount of cool to complement the dirty dogs, hot wings and chili-cheese fries. Open from breakfast until late at night, you can fill yourself with the peppery egg, bacon and sausage breakfast bun and a milkshake carton, then come back later for a crunchy panko prawn taco and slaw. There are local craft beers on tap, a Purple Drank cocktail or try a Jane His Wife – a mix of chai-infused vodka and St Germain.

1 Globe Lane, Wollongong
(02) 4244 8221
Wed & Thu 9am–10pm
Fri & Sat 8am–12pm
Sun 9am–10pm
hisboyelroy.com.au

Sandy Goodwich
The humble sandwich is given new life in this cosy nook. Owners Emma Huber and Yonatan Miller are the husband-and-wife duo behind the casual lunch-to-dinner atmosphere and Middle Eastern influence. All the sandwiches and grazing plates are made with ingredients cooked, cured, baked and preserved on site; such as the caramel pork omelette and the Korea brisket and kimchi sandwich. It also does catering, runs cooking classes and hosts communal dinners.

2/363 Crown Street, Wollongong
(02) 4244 4690
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm
Thu & Fri 6pm–10pm
Sat & Sun 7am–2pm
sandygoodwich.com.au

The Little Prince
Found behind the shopping precinct on Crown Street, The Little Prince is a hole-in-the-wall Asian saloon. The Korean tapas menu changes monthly along with a hefty selection of single-malt whisky. With a menu of son-in-law eggs, fried with chilli, coriander and ketchup manis; bahn mi with pork, pate, egg and kewpie; or chili salt-and-pepper pickles, there’s plenty for a meal or bar snack. Dive into the impressive list of bei-feng dumplings and top it off with the fig and salted caramel Old Fashioned for a sweet nightcap.

502 Globe Lane, Wollongong
(02) 4226 4270
Tue 4pm–10pm
Wed to Sat 4pm–12am
thelittleprince.com.au

Sifters
Set up in a co-op in a car park, Sifters has crates and bleachers to sit on to complement the shipping container it’s housed in. Single Origin Roasters is responsible for the blend behind the bar and the bottles of sriracha on each table are by food establishment, Son of a Gun. The offshoot of Heritage Kitchen from Bulli is dishing up bacon butties and breakfast hash from Wednesday to Sunday, as well as its smoked-on-site pork, brisket and lamb. While you’re there, look out for Woah Nelly doughnuts being served on the regular.

82 Market Street, Wollongong
0437 886 900
Mon to Fri 7.30am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–2pm

Son of a Gun
Wed to Sun 8am–2pm
instagram.com/siftersespresso
facebook.com/sifterswollongong

DRINK

The Throsby
Erick Zavallos and Maddie Sullivan offer a refined menu of wine, cheese and salumi in this simple and unassuming bar. The European beech timber, steel accents and polished concrete benchtop – weighing almost a tonne –-leads out on to a small garden. Allow the staff to pair your choice of drink with proscuitto, bresaola, finnochiona and Sonoma sourdough, served with quince paste and local summer honey. The extensive menu of white mould, washed rind, blue or hard varieties of cheese means you should set aside a lazy afternoon with these guys.

2/88 Kembla Street, Wollongong
(02) 4225 8053
Tue & Wed 4pm–10pm
Thu to Sat 12pm–midnight
Sun 12pm–10pm
thethrosby.com

Dagwood
With a mix of tacos, fried chicken and steamed buns, Dagwood has taken Asian-South American fusion to another level. Take a seat at the communal benches among the sugar skulls and oriental posters that line the walls. Match the share plate with a choice from the extensive menus of spirits and wines. Taco, fancy buns and fried-chicken nights are a regular part of the schedule.

19 Market Street, Wollongong
(02) 4228 6850
Mon & Tue 5pm–11pm
Wed 5pm–12am
Thu & Fri 11.30am–12am
Sat 10am–12am
Sun 10am–10pm
dagwood.com.au

SHOP

Lee and Me
This two-storey heritage-listed terrace is the result of two couples bringing what they love most to the ‘Gong. Lee and Shay Sullivan and Benny and Naomi Hudson have installed chandeliers, Campos coffee and Australian Red Cedar stairs to take you up to brands such as Vanishing Elephant, Nudie and Weak End Club. The cafe-cum-boutique serves simple, honest offerings such as buttermilk hotcakes, dukkah eggs and green and grain salads. Grab a shopping fix then take a seat in the courtyard, on the verandah or cosy- up by the fire. It sweetens the deal with Little Creatures on tap.

87 Crown Street, Wollongong
(02) 4244 0695
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm
leeandme.com.au

Minty Duds
Part of the Sifters Co-op, this relaxed shopfront stocks only independent Australian labels. Owner David Everitt’s ethical T-shirt range, Thomas Foolery, is made from organic cotton and bamboo. It is stocked alongside other brands from Perth, Bondi and the Sunshine Coast, such as The Wanderers Co., Pool Club and Gutter Gods. Pop next door to Pepe’s Garden and treat yourself to some blooms before you head home.

82 Market Street, Wollongong
0452 204 295
Wed 10am–2pm
Thu to Sat 10am–4pm
Sun 10am–2pm
mintyduds.com.au