I have felt behind the eight ball in recent months. Keeping up-to-date with restaurant openings and cafes has always been easy, but getting to every new small bar, wine bar, cocktail bar, absinthe bar…. now that has been a struggle. So… I have spent the last month exploring Sydney’s bourgeoning drinking hotspots.
Shady Pines Saloon is quirky and different, whereas Stitch is crowded, but worth putting up with the odd jab in the rib and spilt drink. Mr Cooper’s Wine Bar is sophisticated and elegant, perfect for the Woollahra/ Paddington crowd and Baxter Inn is moody and atmospheric but with an added stiffness that comes from a crowd that is predominantly wearing suits. Bondi Hardware exudes that effortlessly casual chic that one associates with the Campari-sipping, North-Bondi-Italian-eating Eastern Suburbs crowd. But York Lane, tucked away in the heart of the CBD, can be described in three words: Tiny. But. Fabulous.
The bar doesn’t try too hard. There is no theme, colour scheme or particular design. But… it is certainly not devoid of character. Instead of paintings, bicycles hang on the walls and rather than proper seats, patrons perch on child-sized red and white wooden stools. A chalk board offers cheeky descriptions of drink specials and round copper lights dangerously hang from the ceiling. And unbeknown to many, all the furnishings in this tiny, split-level space are recycled.
An espresso machine pumps out takeaway lattes by day but as the sun sets, York Lane transforms into a licensed restaurant and tapas bar. Small clipboards are handed out with brown recycled paper listing a handful of tapas dishes and drinks, which change daily. Duck pancakes with hoisin sauce are the perfect accompaniment to a crisp pear cider but I eye off another table’s order of pork belly with chilli jam and buffalo wings. I make a mental note to order these next time. Because, yes, there will definitely be a next time at York Lane.
Read more about York Lane here