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Since I Left You fire dancing YCK Laneways
Photograph: Supplied | Fire dancing at Since I Left YouSince I Left You

YCK Intersections events to watch out for

Head to these CBD bars in April-May for live music, drag bingo, food and cocktail specials and more

By Time Out in association with YCK Laneways and NSW Government
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From April 11 through to May 22, the bars of Sydney's York-Clarence-Kent precinct (you may know them collectively as YCK Laneways) are presenting a wealth of special events that will make the centre of town the place to be. YCK Intersections is a six-week program of food, music and masterclasses (including a three-day festival in Barrack Street) taking place across a dozen or so bars. Here are some of the highlights.

YCK Intersections is proudly funded by NSW Government, sponsored by Bacardi, and Time Out is media partner.


This cosy, boutique speakeasy serves up nostalgic adventures through cocktails, delighting with old-school classics and unique creations of the talented bartenders' choice. Pair your drink with a snack from sister restaurant, Cash Only Diner. Located just upstairs, the popular eatery serves up regional Vietnamese specialties, with a condensed selection of tasty treats available at the bar. Looking for a relaxed Sunday sesh? Head on down to Bites & Beats (May 1) and groove along to modern funk and soul courtesy of DJ Duke Dulwich. For three Sunday arvos in May, Cash Only Diner is hosting Fruit Shake Stand (May 8, 15 & 22) – enjoy daytime disco beats and exotic Vietnamese fruit shakes at this unique alfresco brunch.  

Hidden in the corner of Temperance Lane, the dark and romantic Esteban restaurant and bar will draw you in with authentic Mexican cuisine, tequila and mezcal tastings, and a vibrant atmosphere that reflects the spirit and life of Central and Latin America. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until May 21, experience Esteban-da live music series showcasing the eclectic sounds of Latin America, including samba, tango, bossanova, rumba, funk and more. 

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Kitsch and comfortable, Grandma's will make you feel right at home with its retro décor, family atmosphere and fun snacks from childhood (remember jaffles!?). Known as "grandkids", the bar staff pride themselves on mixing up delicious concoctions, with inventive weekly specials to tantalise your tastebuds. On Thursdays from April 14-28, Grandma's is turning it up with live music from Dom Diaz, performing a repertoire of upbeat reggae and latin rhythms, doused in thick funk syrup with a sole purpose to make you move. On May 5, 12 and 19, it's Harvey who'll be serving up a feel-good mix of indie pop and soulful blues 'n' roots. A roaming caricature artist will also be on hand to capture your best side, cocktail in hand.

Named after the voodoo spirit of lust and laughter, this intimate nook celebrates all things dark and mystical with a playful edge. The team are known for conjuring up creative cocktails, herbal elixirs and a smorgasbord of traditional absinthes. Try their new range of cocktails, based on Tarot cards, and let the spirits guide you towards a damn good time. On Wednesday April 27, join in on a ritual of relaxation with local legend Ariane Campbell as she takes you on a soulful journey through acoustic folk, blues and rock. On May 5 it's hip hop with Em3L! and his  three-piece band. May 9 welcomes back Declan Kelly and his reggae/dub band Lunches, while May 14 and 21 is All Vinyl DJ with a touch of live brass by Jon-E from Orbital radio and friends.  

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With a motto of "eat up + party down", Prince of York is a one-stop shop for good food, drinks and playtime. Try the new Prince of Tokyo menu in the upstairs brasserie, then descend to the basement disco for a boogie at Pamela's, a lounge inspired by the late-night culture of '70s and '80s-era BerlinEverybody knows you haven't had a true night out in Sydney without spotting a drag queen or three, so fix that immediately with a trip to Pamela's disco lounge and cocktail bar where Sydney Drag Royalty's finest performers are poised and ready for a fun game of Drag Bingo every Thursday until May 19.

Named Time Out's Bar of the Year in 2020, the chic and modern PS40 is one of Sydney's most innovative and well-curated eating and dining destinations. Originally a soda factory, the small bar celebrates its origins with four signature sodas, all made in house. Try the Wattle Cola, Blackstrap Ginger, Smoked Lemonade and Bush Tonic in a tasting flight, paired with spirits, or expertly mixed in a variety of cocktails. Until May 17, their Takeover Tuesday series sees the bar team up with some of the best chefs in town to deliver an affordable and fun set menu dining experience ($65pp), with the vibe and friendly service of a cocktail bar.

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A favourite coffee and lunch spot amongst inner-city workers by day, Sammy Junior transforms in the evening into a vibrant, mid-city cocktail destination. Harnessing their strengths, the team invite you to enjoy a Friday night of Coffee Cocktails mixing their bespoke coffee blends with the harder stuff to create tantalising concoctions that will have you going all night. Smooth sounds of jazz, funk and soul performed by local artists will soundtrack your espresso-fuelled evening. Dates: April 29, May 6, May 13.

Known to regulars simply as SILY, Since I Left You may be a small bar, but its extensive outdoor courtyard space provides the perfect setting for live performances. Throughout April and May, SILY is hosting an eclectic series of live events, from live music (May 5, 12, 14) and poetry (May 10) to fire dancing (May 13). April 30's For The Girls event sees the venue come alive with DJs, stall holders, live art and dance performances, welcoming "the girls, gays and theys." 

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Inspired by New York's all-hours diners, Stitch Bar is one of Sydney's favourite late-night drinking dens. An impressive back bar of American spirits will quench your thirst, while gourmet burgers and hot dogs provide the perfect midnight snacks. This April and May, the bar plays host to an array of lively events. Enjoy a classy night of jazz and cocktails on April 27. It's funk-pop brass with Phat Brass on May 5, while on May 10 opera singer Yasmin will perform famous arias. On May 11 Sugarman Slim will seranade you with the soothing sounds of the ukulele while on May 18 Slim McBride (no relation) and his band take you back to the 1920s. Not forgetting May 19's workshops in the erotic art of Japanese rope bondage, shibari.

A haven for dumpling lovers and Instagrammers alike, vintage-themed Chinese eatery and bar Uncle Ming's is one of the most aesthetically pleasing venues in Sydney. Step back in time to 1920's Shanghai as you enjoy dumplings, dim sims and wontons washed down with Asian-inspired cocktails served from adorable teapots. A packed schedule of entertainment is slated for April May, featuring musical artists the New South Trio and Yannick Koffi, as well as magician the Amazing Julian. Dates: April 27 & 30; May 4, 7, 13, 18 & 21.

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Any place you can get a cut and a shave followed by a gin and a cheese plate is somewhere we want to get to know better, so if you need us we’ll be propping up the bar seeing how much refreshing ruination we can take at the original Barber Shop in York Street. For a midweek shindig during YCK Intersections, check out the Goods Live Band – a five piece rogues' gallery playing funk, dirty jazz and hip hop. It's happening April 13, 20 and 27. 

The DOC boasts all the trappings of a 19th-century London 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. If you needed any more convincing the Duke of Clarence presents Acoustic Sessions – nights of acoustic hits performed live by some of Sydney's best musicians, Drop by from 7pm on Wednesday Apr 27, May 4, May 11 and May 18.

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A drink here, beneath the mean CBD streets, is as good as a holiday to Old Havana. Slip into the Chesterfield booth seating and prepare for a fabulous mini-break for your mouth. The bar snacks are hella good, too – order the house take on a Cuban sandwich. There will be live music down at the Lobo on Thursday April 28, May 5 and May 12 – and we feel somehow sure it's gonna be good.

The Swinging Cat hides underneath King and Clarence Streets and boasts almost no signage. Of course, Sydney booze hounds can sniff out good drinks at a thousand paces. Had a bad day? You need a Sazerac. The cognac-based cocktail is mixed with bitters and sugar in an absinthe-rinsed, super-chilled glass. It blushes like an ingenue and boozes like a man about town. House band the Sazeracs mix up their jazz style playing classic funk tunes from the '70s and '80s here on April 16, 23, and 30.

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