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Sydney's Laneways, Streets and Car Parks Are Being Transformed Into Al Fresco Dining Areas

Kicking off the city's transformation, 19 pubs, restaurants and bars in The Rocks now have new outdoor dining.
By Marissa Ciampi
November 18, 2020
By Marissa Ciampi
November 18, 2020

As Sydney gears up for summer, we have more to look forward to this year than you might think. Thanks to the a plan to turn Sydney into a '24-hour city', we have a new-look CBD on the horizon — and it's focusing on outdoor dining, starting with The Rocks.

The City of Sydney and NSW Government community recovery plan aims to reactivate the CBD and other local precincts by making it easier than ever for venues to offer outdoor dining, late-night trading and live music.

"We will set up outdoor performance stages in key city locations, fund live music and performance in venues, bars and restaurants, and deliver a summer of outdoor dining," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a statement.

As of last week, The Rocks became the first CBD precinct to pilot this al fresco dining scheme, which was rolled out on Friday, October 16. To start, 19 of The Rocks pubs, restaurants and cafes now have expanded outdoor dining.

Anna Kucera

The overall licensed area has been increased to over 1800 square metres, which will serve a whopping 1000 additional patrons. And, thanks to that extra space, it's all within the NSW Government's COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor capacities, which have recently increased to one person per two square metres.

As part of the plan, Tayim has opened a gin garden along the cobblestoned Nurses Walk laneway and The Doss House has added a cocktail bar its its upstairs courtyard. Other local favourites Maybe Sammy, Endeavour Tap Rooms and the Orient Hotel have all extended their outdoor dining offering, too.

To celebrate, The Rocks has just launched an outdoor music lineup that'll run every Thursday through Sunday (11am–9pm) across a heap of the precinct's streets and laneways, including George Street, Jack Mundey Place, Nurses Walk and First Fleet Park, the latter of which is also covered in social-distancing circles that will remain in place throughout the summer.

Anna Kucera

To achieve this al fresco goal CBD-wide, the government bodies are working together to cut red tape for businesses to easily reclaim outdoor space. Soon enough, you'll begin to see many more parking spots, traffic lanes and footpaths turned into outdoor dining — with activations across Pitt, Barrack and Crown streets, and Tankstream Way and Wilmot Lane all currently in the works.

The 12-month outdoor dining plan is set to officially begin in November, with a whole heap of associated fees waived until March 30, 2021. Approvals for outdoor dining licences and extending liquor licence boundaries are already coming through much more quickly, too — with the expected turnaround time now three days instead of 51 days.

For more information about the al fresco dining plan, head to the City of Sydney and NSW Government websites. 

Images: Anna Kucera

Published on November 18, 2020 by Marissa Ciampi
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