The Year of Paddington
To acknowledge the once-in-a-lifetime overlap between year and postcode, 2021 has officially been labelled the Year of Paddington, with an upcoming event on Thursday, March 25 set to celebrate the thriving cultural and retail centre of Sydney’s east (this doesn’t mean that 2022 will be the Year of Bondi Junction).
A 2021 Night Out will be hosted by Woollahra and City of Sydney Councils, as well as the Paddington Business Partnership. The event will run from 4-8pm throughout the leafy suburb famous for its terraced laneways, artsy venues and chic independent businesses, which will remain open after hours to give locals and visitors the full Paddington experience.
Woollahra Mayor Susan Wynne told The Beast that Paddington is an important cultural hub for the Eastern Suburbs.
“There really is nowhere else like Paddington,” Mayor Wynne explained, “from being an internationally recognised fashion destination, through to its renowned pubs, restaurants and cafes, coupled with its beautifully preserved heritage streetscapes and village feel – it truly is unique.”
Paddington was a key retail destination in the late 20th century but experienced a decline in the early 2000s, which has been partly attributed to the new Westfield Bondi Junction. But the suburb has experienced somewhat of a renaissance, with rows of ‘For Lease’ signs replaced with independent labels, boutique bars and cafes in recent years. Woollahra Council hopes that Paddington businesses will continue to thrive.
Christine Guerriero of Blinq Art on Oxford Street said that they moved the business to Paddington because the area was a vibrant place for artists.
“This space really suits our business; its bright, the neighbourhood is really nice, there are lots of boutiques and it’s much more of a cultural zone here,” Ms Guerriero told The Beast.
Lee Morgan, the NSW Manager of Jardan, a designer furniture store on Oxford Street, echoed Ms Guerriero’s sentiments.
“We are so happy Jardan found it’s home in Paddington. Oxford Street was always known for its unique shopping experience, drawing people to connect with brands and enjoy boutiques and curated showrooms rather than getting lost in malls,” Ms Morgan said.
Since most Paddington brands are smaller, local offerings, Ms Guerriero believes they need extra support from locals.
“It’s important to support small businesses in this time, and the thing about Paddington is that it’s a whole experience coming here – it’s a very European type of shopping experience, which is a great change when you can’t travel,” she said.
Emma Howard, who also works at Blinq Art, added that Paddington businesses aren’t as hard to access from the Eastern Beaches as people might think.
“A lot of people are scared off because they think they can’t park around here but I always find it easy to get a spot near the shops,” Ms Howard said.
A 2021 Night Out will bring much-needed exposure and support at an important time when many businesses are still grappling with the fallout from 2020 COVID restrictions.
Mayor Wynne told The Beast that, most of all, the event will be a celebration of one of Sydney’s most vibrant and historic locales.
“It’s a special and vibrant area that’s worth celebrating, and that is what A 2021 Night Out is all about. I’m looking forward to joining visitors for a great event showcasing the best our local businesses have to offer,” she said.
A 2021 Night Out will be held throughout Paddington on Thursday, March 25 from 4-8pm. For more information, visit visitpaddington.com/nightout.