Making memories in Sydney lanes

By Jay Chabon

Melbourne might be Australia’s laneway capital but Sydney has transformed its own share of once-glum laneways into vibrant destinations in recent years, thanks to the City of Sydney’s Laneway Revitalisation Strategy.

More than 50 city-centre laneways of many stripes abound and many more drawcards await beyond.

Whether you’re bag is mural-stamped laneways with an urban edge, ambient pedestrian walks or novel strips to go shopping on, you can explore it all from Song Hotels.

Here are some of the best laneways to spend time at.

Image courtesy of City of Sydney.

Temperance Lane

Some laneways are so sterilised you can almost eat off them (the pigeons vouch for this) but Temperance Lane isn’t one of them. For those of you who love your laneways gritty, Temperance is your tonic.

Gum globs caked into the bitumen, the odd garbage bag awaiting disposal and mysterious pools of ooze are all there to dodge if you play your cards right.

This needly warren is more than just seedy facade however. It’s home to The Grasshopper Bar, a novel bar to find your new favourite cocktail at. It’s also home to Sneakerboy, a retail store with shoes and streetwear that will have you well-dressed for any Sydney laneway adventure. And, with it’s exposed piping, ventilation grills and scratchy buildings, it’s an ideal setting to indulge your inner photographer.

Manly Beach Front

Market Place, Manly

Manley’s Market Place definitely isn’t a quintessential hipster-magnet laneway but it doubles nicely as thoroughfare and vantage point to see ordinary Manly folk do ordinary Manly things. Thing like walk, carry shopping bags and generally live outside a little.

The lived-in vibe on this dated brick stretch is part of the site’s easygoing charm. You’ll find the wheelie bins out sometimes. Locals fraternise on the public benches and the odd dog is even known to show up for the atmosphere – invited or otherwise.

The Manly Library is a key landmark here but don’t be fooled. When school’s out, there are some solid cafes and bars to park yourself at. Donny’s features a New York City-style loft and Cured is a humming licenced restaurant that you can treat like a bar. Market Place is also the place to get your hair cut, watch backpackers, duck in to the local art gallery and hit the street markets. You’re about an honest torpedo punt from the beach too.

Image courtesy of City of Sydney.

Bulletin Place

Bulletin Place, the former home of the now-defunct Bulletin newspaper/magazine, would have had legendary bush writers Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson inch along it in their days as contributors to the publication. But now a lot of people flock to it for the ambient setting of cafes, nightclub and restaurants.

The laneway is one of eight lanes to have received capital works improvement between 2010-2016.

Bulletin Place, the hip little namesake cocktail bar will change the colour in your face with its fruity potions and Three Bottle Man is perfect for pressed juices, eye-whitening coffees and a rotating menu that’s great for alfresco laneway conviviality.

Llankelly Place

The large traffic light-coloured medallion lights hanging above Llankelly Place enhance this laneway’s propensity for after-dark enchantment. The skinny stretch of street life, which helps connect Kings Cross with Potts Point, was originally named Llankelly Lane in 1922 but renamed its current name when the Council bought into sections in the 1980s. The site attracts a cool artsy scene that you’ll enjoy infiltrating if you’re into coffee, wine and intriguing street life.

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