Buzzing Lakemba is Sydney's latest purple flag nightlife zone

The Lakemba Nights markets are over, but there's always an after-dark buzz on restaurant-lined Haldon Street

Alice Ellis
Written by
Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor
A family walking across the street under bright night lights in Lakemba.
Photograph: Supplied | NSW Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade Media and Corporate Affairs

The hugely popular Ramadan Nights market that brings thousands of people from across Sydney to Haldon Street and Railway Parade in Lakemba for Ramadan feasting is now over, but that doesn't mean the buzz on Haldon Street has stopped. The multicultural Sydney spot is the third Sydney precinct to have Purple Flag status, meaning it's been officially recognised as being a welcoming, safe, diverse, vibrant and accessible place to enjoy time after dark. 

As part of the NSW Government and 24-Hour Commmission's many reforms to continue to put the life back in Sydney's nights, they launched the Purple Flag initiative, an internationally recognised accreditation program that awards certain areas as great places for everyone to enjoy nightlife. The CBD laneway precinct known as YCK (York, Clarance and Kent Streets) was the first area to achieve purple flag status, followed by Parramatta and then Lakemba.

Lakemba of course has the Ramadan Nights market once a year, but Haldon Street is lined with many popular restaurants, sweets shops, sparkling lights, as well as buzzing little grocers that stay open until late. It's also easily accessible by public transport, thanks to its train station.

A man and woman sitting on an outdoor seat with pretty lights above them at night.
Photograph: Supplied | Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade Media and Corporate Affairs

The Purple Flag recognition has been welcomed by local businesses keen to welcome revellers from all over the city (and beyond). Lakemba business owner Rasha Almaanawe from King of Sweets says their doors are open and ready to show off the best of the south-west. “Lakemba is one of those areas where you can actually experience different cultures in the one spot. For example, you could have Indian food for dinner and then walk down the road and have Moroccan tea and walk further down the road and have Lebanese sweets for dessert or even Italian gelato."

“I love seeing people from different parts of Sydney come to visit Lakemba and discover the area and what it has to offer.”

Lady's arm pastries are fried in wok
Photograph: City of Canterbury Bankstown | King of Sweets Lakemba

Purple Flags isn't the only initiative helping direct Sydneysiders and visitors to the city to buzzing precincts – the NSW Government is also expanding its Special Entertainment Precincts initiative, which started as a pilot on Enmore Road and is now being expanded to Darling Street in Balmain, followed by other Sydney spots. The Special Entertainment Precinct status allows for the relaxation of regulations in a buzzing-nightlife area in order to encourage more live music, outdoor dining and later trading. 

Now, we’re off to get a mixed plate from Jasmins – see ya there.

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