Clathrin-mediated synaptic vesicle (SV) recycling involves the spatiotemporally controlled assembly of clathrin coat components at phosphatidylinositiol (4, 5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2]-enriched membrane sites within the periactive zone. Such spatiotemporal control is needed to coordinate SV cargo sorting with clathrin/AP2 recruitment and to restrain membrane fission and synaptojanin-mediated uncoating until membrane deformation and clathrin coat assembly are completed. The molecular events underlying these control mechanisms are unknown. Here we show that the endocytic SH3 domain-containing accessory protein intersectin 1 scaffolds the endocytic process by directly associating with the clathrin adaptor AP2. Acute perturbation of the intersectin 1-AP2 interaction in lamprey synapses in situ inhibits the onset of SV recycling. Structurally, complex formation can be attributed to the direct association of hydrophobic peptides within the intersectin 1 SH3A-B linker region with the “side sites” of the AP2 α- and β-appendage domains. AP2 appendage association of the SH3A-B linker region inhibits binding of the inositol phosphatase synaptojanin 1 to intersectin 1. These data identify the intersectin-AP2 complex as an important regulator of clathrin-mediated SV recycling in synapses.