WHEN people think of cool laneways and discreet urban spaces filled with people dining or enjoying coffee and wine, they are usually thinking of Melbourne or Paris.
But soon they could be thinking of Parramatta too.
Restaurateurs and cafe operators are taking advantage of Parramatta Council's agenda to open up the city's under-used spaces.
Pierre Sande will soon fill the laneway that separates his Church Street restaurant with tables to cater for another 24 people.
"It's about getting out there and trying to create a different culture in Parramatta, the way Melbourne has done it," he said. "It's going to be something that Parramatta hasn't seen before. It's more of a laid-back environment.
"Sydney is a fast-paced environment and Melbourne is a bit more laid-back.
"The laneways seem to work well there because people just walk in off the street and relax."
As well as filling a previously-empty space with people, the seating in Oyster Lane will mean that Sande's Restaurant 317 needs to put on more staff.
But this isn't the only business cramming into Parramatta's nooks and crannies.
Darcy Lane was inhabited by a cafe in July and Mars Hill Cafe operates a coffee cart in Red Cow Lane.
Next month, the Crave Food Festival comes to Parramatta and will fill more of the city's 50 laneways with evening events.
Lord mayor Lorraine Wearne said the council wanted its laneways plan to create places where cafes, markets and cultural events flourished.
"The city's changing," she said. "You can walk around and see some of the funkier, slightly more stylish coffee shops that are starting up now."