You’re of course familiar with the CBD, but there’s another three-letter acronym that should be on the tip of your tongue next time you’re hankering for a night out on the town. YCK refers to the York, Clarence and Kent Street area of central Sydney – a three-block footprint between Town Hall and Wynyard that in recent years has cultivated one of the most impressive concentrations of top-flight drinking dens in the city.
The collection of bars that call this corner of the CBD home have now joined forces with the City of Sydney to form YCK Laneways. This new nightlife hub will be a destination for anyone seeking the world-class hospitality of the city’s best barkeeps alongside an eclectic range of regular events, performances and happenings every night of the week.
To really put the YCK Laneways on every Sydneysider’s radar, the new precinct will be launched with the YCK Laneways Block Party, a six-week-long arts and culture festival featuring a program of 75 events with more than 100 performers. Ten of the YCK precinct's top bars – the Duke of Clarence, Grandma’s Bar, the Lobo, Papa Gede's, Prince of York, Since I Left You, Spawn Point, Stitch Bar, the Barber Shop and Uncle Ming’s – will host artists from a broad spectrum of the creative industries, from jazz crooners to drag queen quiz-mistresses, burlesque divas to disco DJs, stand-up comics to slam poets, and more besides. Through a mix of free, pop-up and ticketed one-off events, the Block Party will be a celebration of Sydney’s diverse and irrepressible creative spirit, centering the city as a vital meeting place for shared experiences, preferably with a well-crafted drink in hand. The action kicks off on April 7, and in addition to the announced program of events, there will also be a major outdoor spectacle, details of which are due to drop in the next few weeks.
The establishment of a new after-dark precinct within the CBD is part of the City of Sydney’s post-lockdown strategy to revitalise the local economy, as people across the city adjust to the new normal of 2021. While the whitecollar workforce is slowly returning to the city as businesses transition back from WFH to IRL arrangements, the total cessation of international tourism and a general downturn in after-dark commerce post-lockout laws has slowed down the recovery of many hospitality venues in the CBD.
It’s hoped the YCK Laneways initiative will prompt Sydneysiders to view the CBD as a great place to spend their leisure time as well as their working week. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to see small hospitality operators come together and create big things in celebration of the arts,” Karl Schlothauer, the president of the Independent Bars Association said. “Through this collaboration, YCK celebrates Sydney’s small bar scene.”
Deputy lord mayor of Sydney Jess Scully added: “The hospitality and nightlife industries have experienced some of the worst social and economic impacts of 2020, and they’ve shown incredible resilience in the face of these challenges. It is so important that we come back together as a community to support the sector and celebrate this wonderful occasion.”
The launch of the YCK Laneways precinct has been supported by City of Sydney and Time Out Sydney, with sponsorship from American Empress, Patrón Tequila and Bombay Sapphire. You can get updates on events taking place in the YCK Laneways by following on Instagram and Facebook.