YCK Laneways, around York, Clarence and Kent, is a one-stop destination for a great time out on the town, where you’ll find world-class cocktails, yummy bar snacks and some of the best vibes in the whole damn city.Less
Creativity has been the watchword here since they switched on the lights in 2016, but that’s always had as much to do with the soft drinks as the hard ones. This also happens to be a soda factory we’re talking about, and as non-alcoholic alternatives become a bigger part of the conversation, it’s important to remember that PS40’s been moving the needle from day one.
Early birds can fuel up at the espresso bar before work. Then, after quitin' time, choose from a selection of pre-shaken Martinis on tap: there's a Coffee Negroni with Mr Black liqueur, gin and campari; the Martini Australiano with lemon myrtle and gin; the Cascara Fizz which blends vodka with raspberry liqueur; the TI Punch Spritz with rum and rooibos tea; an Espresso Martini shaken up frappe-style, or a creamy Irish coffee with honey, whiskey and filter coffee.
We love being in on a secret, so a gin palace hidden behind a full-functioning barbershop is right up our alley. And they really love gin here. There’s north of 80 bottles on the menu at this low-lit hideaway with a slight terrarium vibe, including a vintage collection for people with money to burn. The bar also features genever, the Dutch spirit from which gin originates.
Head through a cobbled laneway below a grand sandstone building on Kent Street and you’ll find Since I Left You’s courtyard canopied in fairy lights. Tall city buildings surround it on all sides and local soul band Audio Soup cranks sexy covers of Bill Withers and Charles & Eddie. Order a short and boozy Mezcal Negroni – the woody smokiness is a good match with owner Nick White’s whipped and creamy “famous guacamole”.
The Duke of Clarence feels like it was designed to bring George Orwell’s famous fantasy pub, the Moon under Water, to life. It boasts all the trappings of a 19th Century tavern, right down to the potted red geraniums above the door. They can pull you a perfect pint of Guinness, but really, this is a bar in pub’s clothing: a slender, licensed slice of the city designed to transport you to a different time and place.
You know you’ve arrived at Uncle Ming’s when you enter a subterranean bar on York Street and the smell of incense hits your face. Let your eyes adjust to the dark and take a look around – you have just entered an opium den-style drinking parlour straight out of downtown Shanghai.
It’s a whole lot of fun to pop through the faux-dressmaker’s shopfront and head down the stairs to Stitch Bar, where it feels like you’re drinking in the belly of a frigate. The dark timber, hanging lanterns and wooden barrels evoke a time of pirates and doubloons, but happily, there’s a lot more than salted pork rations on the menu, like their in-house barrel-aged spirits list.
This New Orleans-inspired cocktail den is a pared-back, lamp-lit affair. The black walls and ceiling meet bare timber floors and if you can’t get a seat around the baby grand piano, a comfortable, gentlemanly lounge chair will have to suffice. It may take its cues from the Big Easy, but the Swinging Cat crew have put in the hard yards to create a bar with style and soul.
It takes a certain mindset to see the potential for a cosy little bar in an awkward, narrow room off a city laneway, but luckily for us the team at Burrow Bar were able to look past the fluorescent lights and corporate Gyprock walls and imagine something better. They’ve kept things pared back and simple in this narrow burrow; the staff are very chatty and it’s a poser-free zone, so if you’ve been looking for a low-key haunt in the CBD, this is a good place to cool your heels.
This CBD restaurant and bar from the team behind Tequila Mockingbird borrows from all corners of Mexico: scallop aguachile from the Western region of Sinaloa; beef barbacoa inspired by the country’s Carribean diaspora and influences; and tacos al pastor from Puebla’s street food trucks. It’s not bound by any specific area nor by any commitment to making Mexican food in its most traditional or mainstream forms.