By Sacha Delfosse

York Lane is the latest small bar to open under the of the City of Sydney's Laneways Business Development Program, offering a small licensed sanctuary in the heart of the city for a breakfast coffee, lunchtime meal or after work drink.

The bar is owned by long time friends and experienced café operators, John Ubaldi and Dieter Steinbusch, with the former also having owned and operated Bar Europa and the latter also running the nearby Annex Espresso Bar on Clarence St.

When Steinbusch opened the Annex Espresso Bar he took a package deal that included the lease for the site that York Lane now occupies, with the long term plan of converting the space into a laneway bar.

He said the partners decided to fit out the new bar using repurposed materials and furniture, and also did the majority of the painting and building themselves.

"The bar tiles are old 70s floor tiles we bought from a front yard in Five Dock, the light fixtures are old wooden salad bowls, we used old English wardrobes to create the wall lining and the shelves were built from old Ansett food trolleys that John bought years ago."

The small bar has a capacity for only 30 people and is licensed to start serving alcohol from 10am. Monday to Wednesday it closes at 10pm while Thursdays and Fridays it stays opened till midnight, while on the weekend it only opens for private functions.

The drinks menu offers a small selection of reds and white wines and a handful of craft beers including Lord Nelson, 3 Sheets, Vale Ale, White Rabbit and Little Creatures, as well as serving VB longnecks. Most of the back bar is made up of aperitifs such as Ricard, Noilly Pratt, Aperol, Campari and Cynar.

The food menu consists of freshly made sandwiches as well as gourmet tapas and sharing plates.

Another interesting feature is a selection of vinyl records that people are encouraged to dig through and play on the bar's communal turntable.

The bar is also planning a few other interesting promotions such as a 52 beers in 52 weeks campaign, where they will be serving a different type of craft beer for one week only throughout next year.

Since it opened, Steinbusch  says that the daytime business has picked up quite a bit, while  the night time bar trade has been growing a lot slower, which he partly attributes to many people not getting their heads around the concept of a small laneway bar.

"So far we have had an interesting response since we opened, but a lot of Sydney people are yet to grasp the idea of the place. If you're well travelled and have been around, especially to Europe, then you get it but some people walk past or stumble in and are a bit shocked."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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