Making Woy Woy Great Again

It was once called the Venice of Australia because of its idyllic location surrounded by pristine waterways, but since those good ole days when vintage Sydneysiders used to day trip north for the beach, Woy Woy has struggled with its identity.

In recent years, an influx of city-slickers and commuters has started to change the fabric of the sleepy suburb and in the past couple of months of 2017, with a series of exciting renos and openings, a new chapter has been written.

From the Coast’s first rooftop bar to a tropicana-themed pizza joint, Woy Woy is set to go off this summer.

Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf

Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf

On the waterfront, Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf has a new look following a massive renovation. The over-the-water structure juts out the back of the iconic Coastie establishment offering one of the best dining locations on the Coast. The site was under construction for most of 2017 as the Claytons – the fishmonger family behind WWFW for the past 40 years – rebuilt the wharf their restaurant perches on. A new structure has landed and with Xanthe Highfield, one half of local design studio Stewart + Highfield, working with hubby Sam Clayton and his mum Jenni on the interiors, it’s as fish’n’chic as the former establishment.

Frankies Rooftop bar, Woy Woy

Frankies Rooftop bar, Woy Woy. Photo: Lisa Haymes

Just up the road,  you’ll find a stylish rooftop bar overlooking the sparkling waterfront. Built on top of The Bayview, Frankie’s Rooftop offers a killer cocktail list and a killer view. With funky tiles, exposed brick, a succulent garden and herringbone timber ceiling, Frankie’s is another Stewart + Highfield masterpiece.

Link and Pin at Woy Woy

Link and Pin at Woy Woy

Link and Pin is the newest cafe on Railway Street, located ideally opposite the busy train station that sees thousands of Coasties commute to the city during the week. With a bright red door our front and a sun-filled courtyard out back, it’s breathed a bit of life and colour into the area’s cafe scene. The coffee is Glee and there are some exquisite sounding toasties on the menu.

Right next door, homegrown homewares brand Blonde Onyx has moved in. You might recognise the name from the vintage caravan that used to park up at Coast 175 Ettalong on summer weekends. The boutique brings together haute homewares like tousled throws, vintage ladders, statement cushions, classy kids’ clothes, hand-painted wall art and tribal treasures, with Frankie’s making use of some Blonde Onyx cushions to spruce up the rooftop space.

Tropicana Pizza Pizza, Woy Woy

Tropicana Pizza Pizza, Woy Woy

Around the corner in the Colonial News Shopping Centre off Blackwall Road, a new pizza place opened its doors late last year. Tropicana Pizza Pizza is the brainchild of Woy Woy local Tim Stock and his stylish missus Cate Stewart,  the other half of Stewart + Highfield. It’s all a bit retro with the kind of pan pizza that harks back to carefree 80s summers, but with modern flavour twists like roasted fennel and sausage or ham, pineapple and pickled jalapeños, and a tropicana-tiki kit out in a nod to the joint’s coastal location.

Young Barons al fresco dining. Photo: Lisa Haymes

Young Barons al fresco dining. Photo: Lisa Haymes

Bit by bit the suburb has been coming alive in the past couple of years and there was a lot of excitement when Young Barons opened. Run by 23-year-olds Bryce Gleeson and Dannielle Mills, who both spent time at Bells, this is the place to go for a good bowl of pasta and a tiramisu. Bryce, who grew up in Woy Woy and moved back with Dannielle, started a social campaign with the hashtag #makewoywoygreatagain, and there’s no doubt that his stylish cafe/store is doing exactly that.

While we’ve always loved strolling along the waterfront as ducks waddle past and pelicans glide overhead or popping into the Gnostic corner for a coffee and a nourishing feed, the arrival of fresh new faces and fresh new spaces is helping to bring Woy Woy into the new millennium and will undoubtedly #makewoywoygreatagain.

22 responses to “Making Woy Woy Great Again”

  1. Avatar Ben says:

    There is a new Jewelry store in woy woy just opened called Boulevard Jewels .Beautiful shop . Blackwall rd

  2. Avatar John says:

    I’m glad they are doing this in Woy Woy, although I do wonder whether people will return. Sadly the junkies and the anti social behaviour turn a lot of people off Woy Woy. It doesn’t take long when in Woy Woy to witness something feral and there is vandalism everywhere.

  3. Avatar Proud Local says:

    Hey John,
    Do you live in Woy Woy? Cause I do and have done for 3.5 years. I’ve never had an issue with junkies, anti-social behaviour or vandalism. I’ve felt safer here than I ever did living in Surry Hills and Redfern. I watched both of those suburbs gentrify over the years I lived there and I can see the exact same thing happening in Woy Woy. It’s only a matter of time : )

    • Avatar Christine says:

      We have high hopes for Woy Woy!

    • Avatar John says:

      I did live local, I left recently due to the crime but still live nearby just off the Peninsula.

      There is a serious drug & alcohol problem in Woy Woy and a lot of youth truancy and mental health issues, but there is a lot of this in many regional areas. Woy Woy has the advantage of being such a beautiful peaceful area and with all the effort going into it, it is only looking better and attracting good honest people. Lets hope it continues, I love the fact people are proud of Woy Woy, it’s how it should have been. Years ago it was so down and out which was sad considering how beautiful the place is.

  4. Avatar Sonia says:

    Love your article Christine! Cheers!

  5. Avatar Yuley Buist says:

    It’s definitely time for Woy Woy to get trendy because it has the makings of an interesting place to be. So many opportunities…Love seeing new cafes but do hope other shops will be able to stay the distance.

  6. Avatar Charla says:

    Stylish, sassy….like💁

  7. Avatar Pamela says:

    Fantastic article. Moved to Woy Woy 3 months ago and loving it! We were a bit anxious to be moving from the city and it didn’t seem to have the best reputation but I’m so glad we’ve given it a go. Looking forward to trying out all the lovely eateries over the summer 👌

  8. Avatar Donna says:

    Redfern. Surry Hills. Bondi, even Paddington, Rozelle were all working class suburbs and now look at them. Oh and don’t even get me starter on Parramatta….Who would have sold in Paddington to buy 10 years ago???
    People are!
    People grow as do suburbs.
    This beautiful suburb deserves to do well. As a local resident – after 15 years in Bondi – I love the unpretentious vibe of the coast.
    I feel lucky to witness it’s growth.
    I love hearing about new places and support them wholeheartedly. Running a small business and taking a leap of faith to make your neck of the woods better… take my hat off to you. You are the risk takers. You are the game changes. We all need people like you to make our ‘hoods a better place.
    John….Do you agree. Or would you prefer the buildings stay bolted up and encourage crime? I know what my preference is!

    • Avatar Christine says:

      We’re for Woy Woy!

    • Avatar Shelley says:

      Hi Donna, & hello everyone, ! I am an Eastern Suburbs of Sydney girl born & bred, & moved to the Penninsula 23 years ago, to regain what I was used too…. I am so happy we are slowly moving into a funky coastal cool wave of class. For we have been starved for far too long here, with our breathtaking enviroment. I have been waiting for 15 years for the Bayview to uitililse upstairs,!! so finally some of this new direction is developing for we should have to go to Terrigal for similarity!!.
      Merry Christmas everyone, please lets retain some old fashion friendliness, being the best of the Coast, for Sydney’s arrogance and aggession was why I left in the first place, polite, friendly & happy, with the serious cash injection Woy Woy needed, will bring some terrific spots to hang out, and enjoy ….well everything :-))

    • Avatar John says:

      Donna I totally agree. What Coastalchic and the new establishments are doing in Woy Woy is Gods work. It is wonderful and I’m so glad people are genuinely wanting to improve the area. I visited the rooftop area in the Bayview a few weeks ago and was amazed by it. The Woy Woy standard is being lifted and people can actually go out for a nice time in Woy Woy and be genuinely proud of the place.

      Long may this continue and good honest people crowd out the troubled youth and some of the undesirables Woy Woy has had to put up with over the years. These people were ruining a great town and are the only reason it had a bad reputation. The scenery and water has always been amazing.

  9. Avatar Simone says:

    The funny thing about business is that you need customers to stay in it. So I shall do my best to support each of these businesses in 2018. I want them to stick around – and multiply. There’s room in Umina!

  10. Avatar John says:

    Woy Woy is a beautiful suburb and I only want the best for it.

    I am greatly encouraged by the new look Bayview, Fishermans Wharf, Young Barrons, Tropicana, Cook and Co etc. It’s looking really trendy and actually a place that you would want to spend an evening. There are still a fair bit of troubled youth around but the more good honest people keep going to Woy Woy the more it will drive out these undesirable types.

    I never thought I’d be saying it, but if the right people keep putting money in Woy Woy, Umina and Ettalong, The Peninsula will fast become the place to be on the Central Coast!

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