Ritzy yet laid back: The spots loved by Double Bay locals

As reported by Jessica Golding  | Full story here

For a nature hit, locals are spoilt for choice with several harbour beaches and parks. Photo: Steven Woodburn

Home to upscale boutiques, trendy eateries, glistening harbour views and some of Sydney’s priciest properties, Double Bay has long been synonymous with affluence and glamour.

Tucked between Darling Point and Point Piper, just four kilometres from the CBD, the ritzy-yet-laid-back neighbourhood is a magnet for the city’s well-heeled and those with a taste for the finer things.

While the suburb entered a period of stagnation in the 2000s with the arrival of Westfield Bondi Junction, a stroll through its Lamborghini-lined streets reveals a blend of old and new that characterises the area today, with high-end developments and businesses bringing new life to the neighbourhood.

New developments and businesses have reinvigorated the area. Photo: Vaida Savickaite

“There’s lots of good energy. All the shops are busy, all the restaurants are busy,” says local business owner Lia Georgantis, who opened the fashion and jewellery boutique Girls with Gems in the suburb with her mother Lefka in 2013.

The store, which Georgantis describes as “high-end but approachable”, moved to its current location on charming Transvaal Avenue in 2017 and stocks clothes by Australian designers, as well as brands from the US, UK and Greece.

“You can get everything in Double Bay – you can shop, go for coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, go out. It doesn’t really feel like you need to go anywhere else,” she says. “It feels like a community.”

Georgantis’ favourite local spots include Greek cafe Wogga Wogga for coffee, Indigo and Bills for breakfast, and Matteo and Margaret for dinner.

Double Bay’s Indigo is a popular cafe among locals. Photo: Steven Woodburn

Positioned on the corner of Bay Street and Guilfoyle Avenue, Neil Perry’s Margaret, which opened its doors in October 2021, is emblematic of the suburb’s recent revival. Affectionately named after Perry’s mother, the high-end restaurant and adjoining bar – aptly named Next Door – have quickly become local favourites.

Just down the road, Bibo Wine Bar serves up Mediterranean-inspired fare by former Guillaume at Bennelong head chef Jose Silva.

For a nature hit, locals flock to Steyne Park to soak in the water views or to Redleaf Beach for a wander through Blackburn Gardens or a dip at Murray Rose Pool, while high-end salons like Amy Jean Brows, La Boutique and The Skin Bar cater to those looking to be primped and pampered.

For Double Bay local Philip Jacobson, Piccolina Cafe on Cross Street is the go-to for a coffee and a snack. “They make the best coffee in Double Bay, bar none,” he says.

A long-time resident of the eastern suburbs, Jacobson moved into a brand new three-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment across the road at 1788 Residences with Evelyn Krieger at the end of 2020.

The building is inspired by 1920s art deco design. Photo: Supplied

Attracted by the exterior design, the two bought off the plan in 2017, combining two apartments on the building’s third floor to create a “very big open space” with “stacks” of natural light.

“We do a lot of entertaining, so we’ve got a big dining table. There’s a kitchen and a dining area that is rather big and looks fantastic. Then there’s a big lounge room, and there’s a verandah off that,” says Jacobson. “It’s so open; it’s just a pleasure to be in.”

The development by SJD was designed by award-winning firm Bates Smart. The same team is behind phase two of the project, Encore 1788, which has recently hit the market next door.

Made up of 15 prestige homes, 10 of which have already sold off the plan, the building is inspired by 1920s art deco design, with sculpted curves and grand proportions.

The development is conveniently located in the heart of Double Bay. Photo: Supplied

The luxury apartments come with free-standing baths, rounded coffered ceilings, floor-to-ceiling timber veneer entry doors, and Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, with luxury materials like marble, burnished bronze, stone and timber creating a sense of timeless sophistication.

Positioned in the heart of the suburb, future residents will have easy access to all Double Bay offers.

“Everything’s convenient. We’ve got shopping, we’ve got the post office, a library, the ferry, buses, we’ve got the water close by,” says Jacobson. “It’s a very exciting place to be.”