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Jaegersborggade

Copenhagen

It doesn’t have to take long to revive the fortunes of a once-unpopular street and charming Jaegersborggade in northern Copenhagen offers very few clues to its down-at-heel past. Located between a cemetery and Nørrebro Park in the Danish capital’s once seedy red-light strip, this was a no-go area overrun with petty crime until as recently as some 10 years ago. The transformation has been abrupt and decisive and was accelerated by the opening of chef Christian Puglisi’s wildly popular basement restaurant Relae in 2010.

The narrow street, which is partly residential, is skirted by four- and five-storey townhouses. At street level retail, outdoor seating and an enduring community feel are the main pulls. Some 40 art galleries, coffee shops and vintage clothing spots – and even a caramel factory – all tempt visitors from beyond the neighbourhood’s borders.

Jaegersborggade’s success lies in its all-day appeal. Many visitors and residents here treat themselves to fresh-baked confectioneries from Meyer’s Bageri in the morning, as well as downing a last drink at Manfred’s after sunset. The mix of residential and retail options has also given rise to a curiously informal atmosphere and it’s not uncommon to spy (or even be invited to join) lively barbeques going on along the street on long summer evenings.

Warren Street

Hudson

A favourite with New Yorkers keen to escape the weekend crush, the town of Hudson (some 130km north of the city) has developed an enviable independent retail scene. Centred on charming Warren Street, the town of 7,000 abounds with retailers touting tasteful furniture and windows decorated with wildflowers, as well as cafés, coffee shops and even a bar or two worth exploring.

The arrival of a few keen-eyed antique dealers kicked off the retail renaissance here in the 1990s and their presence was later complemented by the arrival of artists, who came seeking green space and a quieter alternative to Manhattan (the town enjoys a prime spot in a valley on the Hudson River). In 2015 graphic designer Antony Katz decided to realise his dream of opening a motorcycle shop; to get non-motorcyclists through the door he added a café stocked with coffee beans from small-batch roasters and a menu of sweet and savoury waffles. Locals filter in for a drink, a natter and to gawp at the gleaming 1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado parked by the counter.

On Tuesday nights, crowds gather for pop-up dinners at Rivertown Lodge, a new 27-room hotel at the street’s eastern end. The lobby is furnished with potbelly stoves and cherrywood cabinets. Upstairs a guest pantry in the hallway – stocked with chocolates, charcuterie, cheese and beer – replaces the usual minibar, while the weekend cocktail bar is open late.

Akarsu Caddesi

Istanbul

Akarsu Caddesi’s name comes from the Turkish word for “stream” and people flood the leafy street on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus from dawn to dusk. The surrounding Cihangir neighbourhood has been a creative hub since the 1970s and a centre of commerce for about 3,000 years. Architectural gems – including the Topkapi Palace, former home to Ottoman Sultans – act as a grand backdrop to the bustle.

Visitors would do well to start their day with a coffee at Geyik or Mellow, respectively. Both are pretty spots from which to take in the street’s motley mix of dog-walkers, joggers, laptop-tapping freelancers and expats. Come dusk, others arrive for drinks at the Smyrna Café or to visit a meyhane (traditional workman’s canteen) in the form of Hayat Meyhane.

After nightfall head towards Taksim Square for diversions in the form of boisterous bars Kiki and Mini. Since the closure of the Asmali Mescit retail street following the Gezi Park protests in 2013, alfresco drinking has become a sign of solidarity among many liberal Turks. It’s a pastime for which Akarsu’s residents are proud to be renowned.

Rue du Nil

Paris

Winding, hidden and not much more than 70 metres in length, the Rue du Nil was once a dead-end street in both senses. Little more than a cobbled alley, hemmed in by sheer five-storey terraces, by the mid-19th century the thoroughfare had become an undesirable entrance to the Cour des Miracles, a slum district of Paris that served as the inspiration for Victor Hugo’s celebrated novel (and Russell Crowe’s go-to karaoke favourite) Les Misérables.

When chef and restaurateur Grégory Marchand opened his bistro called Frenchie (see panel, right) on this dubious stretch in 2009, few would have been able to anticipate quite how dramatically it would go about changing the area’s fortunes. Marchand’s restaurant quickly became a standard-bearer of informal dining for Paris, ushering in a retail revival that included an organic producer, butcher, wine shops and a coffee roaster. Together these conscientious shopkeepers have come together to made this humble passageway one of the most popular destinations for all-day delights in the French capital.

Hollywood Road

Hong Kong

One of the most recognisable landmarks on Hollywood Road is a sinewy banyan tree, bursting out of the masonry of a wall built in 1844 during the British colonial occupation of Hong Kong. This has long been a meeting point for eastern and western influences, as well as older businesses and new ventures.

On the eastern reaches of the street is an old police station in a heritage building dating back to the 1860s that’s set to be renovated as a vast new arts and culture venue. To its west is Man Mo Temple – built in the same era to provide spiritual wellbeing to Hong Kongers – as well as a community centre, court and classroom.

These historical landmarks have remained steadfast but the other occupants of this winding kilometre-long street, that runs horizontal to the harbour, have changed with the times. Antiques shops began to flourish here during the 1970s; collections of Ming and Qing dynasty furniture and ancient porcelain transformed Hong Kong into one of the world’s largest antiques trading hubs. In recent years an influx of contemporary-art galleries has given the street a younger range of visitors.

Today, as the one-way traffic heads east, pedestrians are as likely to hear French or Korean spoken as English or Cantonese. Buzzy new cocktail bars and restaurants rub shoulders with traditional sugarcane juice vendors and herbal teashops. The morning routine starts early, with white-collar workers walking down the hill towards central Hong Kong. Evenings run late, as this same crowd cut across Hollywood Road in search of places to dine, drink and unwind.

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