These Retro Diners are Just Like the Movies

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Retro diners are rock ‘n’ rolling back into favour without an Elvis impersonator in sight.


Butchers Diner

If 4am brings an urgent need for blood sausage, this 24/7 greasy spoon in the CBD has you covered. From 6am to 11am, the breakfast list contains all the staples, including steak and eggs, loaded hash and buttermilk pancakes. And the 24-hour menu reads like the titular butcher’s dream, with a diverse parade of meats and offal from the charcoal grill.

Trunk Diner

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Watching the world race by through the windows of this slick diner – located on a busy corner in the CBD – it’s easy to imagine that you’re in New York. The menu of classic, American-style breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes only amplifies the charade.


Red Hook

Chicken burgers smothered in miso mayo and char siu sauce, tacos piled with Peking duck – it’s the mash-up of Asian and American influences that make this diner so inviting.


Nighthawk Diner

Once a gleaming retro-style trailer that kept the city satiated with mobile burgers, fries and milkshakes, the Nighthawk now has an equally cool permanent home in inner-city Chippendale. The expanded menu offers tongue-in-cheek plays on the classics, such as nachos served in a Doritos bag and irresistibly boozy shakes.


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Part diner, part smokehouse, part dive bar, Surly’s brings a touch of Nashville to the heart of Surry Hills. Burgers, hoagies and loaded fries are weekday favourites but from Friday to Sunday, you’ll want to turn your attention to the meats emerging from Ole Hickory – a smoker flown in from Missouri.


Two-Bit Villains

While the handcrafted soft drinks are reason enough to seek out this eclectically furnished spot in the historic Adelaide Arcade, the food makes the journey essential. Even devout carnivores will be won over by the signature burgers on Two-Bit’s entirely meat-free menu.


The Falcon

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They say, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, and this timber-lined ode to the Deep South brings both. The brisket is overseen by a Florida-born barbecue chef who smokes it for 12 hours, while the wings are doused in a housemade hot sauce. For firefighting duties, opt for craft beers or imaginative cocktails.

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