Some great things have happened in the CBD over the past couple of years, and one of my favourites has been the growing number of laneways popping up around town. If you've been to Melbourne, or any other city in the world, you know how great they are. You venture off the beaten track and discover great little bars, cafes, restaurants, shops and offices. It's another world. As our city grows, so do the number of laneway and side street activations. It makes much more economic sense with lower rent prices, and culturally, it seems like a lot more of us enjoy the side street vibes.
With the number of laneways growing, I though it was high time to put together a small guide for you all so they're slightly easier to navigate. Let's hope I can do another one in a year with quite a few more on the list.
1. Lindes Lane
It was once the place for pop up street parties, but Lindes Lane has broken out of its temporary cocoon and butterflied into a permanent café and bar just off the centre of Rundle Mall. A casual wine bar by day, and a buzzing bar at night, the coffee machine is never off and when the doors are open, and so is the kitchen. The AstroTurf laden venue also presents local musicians and DJs for your entertainment. Best of all, it’s a collab with some of Adelaide’s best hospos – Ian Callahan of Bar 9 (one of Adelaide’s best), Wes Gilson of the Cork Wine Café, and Jason Jurecky. It’s open 8am-7pm Monday to Wednesday, and 8am to late on Thursday to Saturday. It’s the best thing to happen to Rundle Mall since the balls got cleaned.
2. GAWLER PLACE
Gawler Pl is a cute little retail shoot off of Rundle Mall, but also home to all the professionals you could ever need; doctors, dentists, chiros, optometrists and lawyers for all you troublemakers. Speciality stores include Allan’s Music, Dicksmith, Gazman and Oroton if you’ve got the dolla billz to spend.
3. JAMES PLACE
A bit of retail loving continues on James Place, but it’s mostly a place for some super cool food and beverage offerings. It’s hard not to notice Blackeby’s Old Sweet Shop with that creepy music playing as you walk past. There’s also Fair Espresso Speciality Coffee, a couple of sushi joints, and Soonta; one of Adelaide’s best quick, cheap lunch options in the CBD. James Pl also houses the sneaky entrance to The Coffee Pot, the time capsule of a speak easy sent straight from the 70s.
4. LEIGH ST
It reigns supreme as one of Adelaide’s best laneways, and Leigh St has plenty to offer. First of all, it’s a gorgeous street – ornate store fronts, and it’s closed off to traffic, and therefore Adelaide’s rekless drivers trying to avoid main street traffic. It’s been home to some amazing Splash Adelaide activations; markets, wine tastings and poetry readings, and we hope to see many more. Rigoni’s Bistro and Cos are two amazing restaurants, with beautiful al fresco dining options where you can sit and absorb the atmosphere of the street. Casablabla is a great multi-cultural venue offering a Moroccan/Turkish/Balinese/Cambodian inspired experience with live music and tapas. Udaberri is also well known as an amazing small venue. Finally, Coffee Branch cannot be missed – it’s hard not to mention, Coffee Branch is reviewed as one of Adelaide’s best coffees. 10/10 I recommend, they set a shining example of what we should have a lot more of here.
5. PEEL ST
Standing on either end, it doesn’t look like much. Venture down and Peel St is home to some of Adelaide’s absolute best venues. Peel St – headed by head chef Jordan Theodorous and Ben McLeod – is easily one of the best restaurants in the CBD. Each meal – whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner – is a work of art, combining flavours like nobody's business. It’s always full for a very good reason. Nearby are brilliant bars like Chihuaha, Clever Little Tailor and La Moka, which turns beautiful coffee during the day into sensual espresso martinis at night. Maybe Mae is the rabbit hole of Peel St (if you can find it), right near Bread and Bone, who makes one of the best burgers in town. Don’t forget to check out The Map Shop and The Comics Shop in between rounds.
6. CRIPPEN PLACE
It’s the place where some great nights out have been had, many stomach contents have been dispensed and many hearts broken. All in all, Crippen Place is well known as the home to the trifecta of clubs; Electric Circus, Mr Kims and Rocket. It’s been DJed by some pretty big names from around the globe. The line has been known to span right up to Morphett St, so get that stamp on you early to secure your place in one of Adelaide’s premiere destinations for getting rekt.
7. BANK ST
Bank street Adelaide stars Bank St Social as the underground rabbit hole that houses a beautiful little bar where you can escape the craziness of Hindley St. Luckily, the kids with their vodka raspberries and Windsor Smiths haven’t quite discovered it, so enjoy amazing cocktails and quality local produce while you can.
Next door you’ll find Zambreros, which should be on everyone’s food bucket list whether it’s for your lunch break or at 3am when you’ve finally lost the plot. Bank St also features a good example of some city innovation, with Parklets and bike lanes. Another great cheap eat for lunch is Sit Lo, with an amazing selection of cheap Asian goodness, including Banh Mi aka Vietnemese Rolls aka food of the Heavens. It’s also got a hotel/motel/holiday inn, strategically close to Hindley * wink *.
8. GRESHAM ST
Gresham St has just recently rose to laneway fame with the birth of two great small bars – La Buvette Drinkery and The Bibliotecha Bar and Book Exchange. Both bars are comfortable, cosy and cool spaces to enjoy drinks and great quality local produce, and feel like sitting in art galleries. Lying just off King William, it’s a great place for after 5pm drinks, or stopping in during your night out.
9. AUSTIN ST
The main event of Austin St is the home for a throwback to the good old days of playing Super Mario on Sega and board games, except now you’re not 12, and you can drink coffee and beer . It just opened in January, and is often full of super kewl students from across North Terrace.
10. VARDON AVENUE
Hidden behind Rundle St is the beautiful Vardon avenue, basically my dream street to live on in Adelaide. Exchange Speciality Coffee is well known as one of Adelaide’s top coffee spots, while Mother Vine and East End Cellars host amazing wine, beer, cider and spirit offerings. No vodka soda limes to be had at these venues kids; this is all about quality, not quantity.
11. EBENEZER PLACE
Just a few steps away from Vardon avenue, what’s not to love about Rundle St shootoff Ebenezer Place? You could spend a whole day here bar and café hopping from the Belgian Beer Café to Hey Jupiter, to Nano Café, to Sad: Café, to East End Providore, to Parwana. Get a spot of shopping in with Naomi Murrell, Council of Objects, Studio Eco and more. So East end, so great.
12. UNION ST
Not much to see here, except for one of Adelaide’s best coffee-stops, and one of the best burgers in the World. Penny University is a great little café – that just turned 1 might I add – with brilliant baristas (I’m pretty sure the coffee tastes better when the baristas are good looking), and some great food options. Burger Theory, the food truck turned permanent establishment, has long been hailed amongst the top burgers of not only Adelaide, but this great country. A simple menu with just a few options offers brilliant, American style burgers complete with fries and the amazing truck sauce.
13. MOONTA ST
It’s a staple feature of most cities in the Western world, and Moonta St is the main street of China Town in Adelaide. If you haven’t at least strolled through the strip while visiting Gouger St, you’ve probably stumbled down it after dinner and 6 bottles of wine at T-Chow. It’s also home to the super kawaii Hello Kitty café, and a few other classic Asian cheap eats.
14. GILBERT PLACE
If you’re a true Adelaidean, it’s hard not to think of one place when you think of Gilbert place; hint, it serves kick-ass pancakes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Yes, Pancake Kitchen is one of very few round-the-clock services in Adelaide, and will never lose that warm welcoming feeling. More recently, specialist spirits venue Hains & Co has opened and it’s definitely not one to miss, not to mention the newer Renew Adelaide project Vinyl Bar.