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Lenka’s Guide to Sydney

The Australian chanteuse on the joys of her hometown

Lenka’s fourth solo album is titled The Bright Side, and according to the singer that just about sums up her own outlook. “It’s kind of my state of mind in the moment I am at,” she says. “It’s really nice, happy place.”

And her latest collection of songs matches that nicely, showing off a polished pop edge with an undeniably sunny outlook. “The album is about striving for happiness and joy and, once we get it, how to keep it,” Lenka says. “I know we can look on the bright side, but I propose that we actually live there. That’s where I’m at.”

Well, that’s not the only place. Lenka, who splits her time between the U.S. and Australia, has plenty to say about being in her native land as well. Here, she shares some of her favorites places in Sydney and explains what makes them great.

Top Hat Coffee

“In Sydney there a great coffee shop called Top Hat. I can walk out my door and walk in any direction and go to a kick-ass coffee place—I am really lucky—but I like this place because it’s family oriented and good for kids, but still makes a really good cup of coffee. I have mine with soymilk.” tophatcoffee.com.au

Surry Hills Market

“Surry Hills is a central district that’s great for going out or for shopping; everybody there is young and cool—and the market is great. I used to do the markets in my early 20s, and I’d buy vintage from thrift stores and fix them up and sell them. I stopped because it was getting hard to ransack shops, there was nothing left to buy. I still love coming here, though, because I buy most of my clothes vintage and I only wear them a few times. I love to buy something for $10 instead of $100 because later I don’t have to worry about it and just give it back to a charity shop.” shnc.org

Eathouse Diner

“I lived away from Sydney for six years and lived in Brooklyn, so coming back it was interesting to see the Brooklynization of Sydney. Southern American food, like pulled pork, and Mexican food spread to Sydney, and that’s great because we had a terrible South American and Mexican food previously. This place has really fantastic food and cocktails, and decor that I really like. There’s a tropical feel, and beautiful painted ladies everywhere. It’s a really fun atmosphere.” eathousediner.com.au

Sydney’s Beaches

There are so many to choose from! I am extremely lucky because I can decide at four o’clock in the afternoon that we should go to the beach, and we can get down there quickly and still have few hours of good weather. It’s heaven.” 

Queenies Pub

“Pubs in Australia are a staple of our culture, and they aren’t generally classy joints. The good news is that some hip kids who are old enough to take on bigger ventures are going after pubs and making them a lot cooler. One of my favorite places is this really great Jamaican spot called Queenies. I just went there the other night with my girlfriend, had a lot of delicious food and great cocktails with a really good vibe.” queenies.com.au