Sydney is such a diverse city with so many hidden laneways to get lost in. But what does make a good laneway? I’m not talking about any willy-nilly nook in the road, I’m meaning a really great space that has been infused with personality.
The best laneways are those which are eclectic but also play an important role to their own neighbourhoods. They need a little bit of the following to become a standout space: art, culture, diversity, safe places, hospitality, unique qualities and placemaking.
I’ve done my fair share of walking around this city, and now it’s my turn to present to you some of the best picks for Sydney’s ultimate laneways.
11 Alberta Street, Surry Hills
Alberta Street, just located off Nithsdale Street in Surry Hills, is a hidden gem nestled within the Sydney CBD. The laneway features a gorgeous mural painted by local artist Max Berry as part of the Art & About program by City of Sydney. 11 Alberta Street is the perfect location for this little laneway. The space boasts a unique host of restaurants and cafes, with most visitors enjoying the Asian-inspired food at Blaq Piq. Cafe Cre Asion is also the perfect spot to tantalise your tastebuds with a huge selection of macaroons, pastries and artisan coffee. And yes, it’s very Instagrammable.
Abercrombie Lane, CBD
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s centre lies Abercrombie Lane, a quiet yet intriguing laneway home to quirky bakeries, bars and cafes. The laneway itself is quite simple, a few seats here and there, ironing boards as tables and dotted umbrellas and heaters depending on the weather. But it’s what’s inside the laneway that counts most. Nestled to one side, you can find the incredible cocktail bar Palmer & Co- a new adventure from the Merivale team which matches old school 50’s class with modern day cuisine. Or, check out the Tank Stream Bar, a cult classic for the CBD worker who needs a place to chill. Both have proven to be an establishment that locals flock to after 5pm strikes, no matter what day of the week.
Spice Alley, Chippendale
When a cultural quarter meets food hub, the heavens align to create the ultimate in laneways. Introducing Spice Alley, an awesome conception from the folks at Kensington Street Precinct. Spice Alley brings the best of dining, culinary experience and culture to Chippendale. A floating canopy of lanterns light the way throughout the space, delving in and out of different nooks and crannies to take you on an aromatic journey throughout Asia. The laneway is speckled with tens of food outlets, as well as some bespoke bars including a gin distillery. Street art lines all of the walls, with the laneway always bustling with Uni students and office workers alike. It’s the perfect spot no matter the occasion- after work drinks, celebrating the end of exams, getting ready to party or just getting a quick bite to eat.
Bulletin Place, CBD
A stone’s throw from the ever popular Sydney Harbour, Bulletin Place is a quiet laneway boasting incredible food and drink. The laneway itself is peppered with potted plants and charming door facades, ands it’s almost a little reminiscent of the streets you’d walk in Rome or Barcelona. The restaurants match this brief pretty well. One of Sydney’s best tapas joints Tapa Vino is located in the laneway, not to mention also being spoilt for choice between Bulletin Bar and Alfredo Italian Restaurant. Bulletin Place often sees its laneway decorated throughout different periods in the year, and it’s a usual for Vivid Sydney and Christmas decorations. So if you’re ready to feel a little cultured, Bulletin Place is the spot to head to for an evening of tasty bites and cocktails.
May & Caroline Lanes, St Peters
If you want to see the urban side of Sydney then both May and Caroline lanes in St Peters are the place for you. Be prepared to witness some Melbourne-esque artworks, as the laneways take on a grungy cultural vibe with graffiti artists taking over any spare walls in the neighbourhood. Walking down the lanes will see you coming across a unique view of residential buildings intermingling with the old chimney stacks of Sydney Park in the background. It’s a popular route to enjoy a bike ride down, weaving in and out of the streets of St Peters and ending up in Sydney Park. This south-Sydney suburb is an adventure waiting to be had. If you grab yourself a bike, be sure to ride around the neighbourhood to enjoy all of the street art. Don’t forget to peek down Daburi Lane- which pays homage to the Aboriginal custodians of the land, with the street name meaning ‘to paint’, reflecting the contribution of the creative industries in this area.
Angel Place, CBD
Look, I was going to leave this one out as it’s not very original content anymore, but in saying that, Angel Place is the laneway of all laneways in Sydney (according to Instagram). Located just off busy George Street and also conveniently located next to nightclub Ivy, Angel Place’s main calling card is artistic installation ‘Forgotten Songs’- a hanging menagerie of bird cages which fill the air with their songs. ‘Forgotten Songs’ plays homage to the native fauna that used to live in our city. During the day, you can expect to hear the calls of the Eastern Whipbird, Rockwarbler, Regent Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush and Fan-tailed Cuckoo to name a few. The soundscape changes each evening, with the Australian Owlet-nightjar, Powerful Owl, Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Tawny Frogmouth and White-throated Nightjar singing their songs. If you haven’t been to Angel Place, you’re missing out on one of our city’s most popular cultural attractions.