Wednesday, August 05, 2009

In praise of Melbourne's cafes

@PuzzlerT points out this interesting article on antipodean cafe culture spreading to London. Funny how these things go in cycles - the high quality of coffee in Australian cities is usually put down to the post-war European immigration. Good coffee has been widely available since then, long before the coffee chain boom. And now we're exporting it to London, a city which, as the article points out, was itself a centre of coffee culture a couple of centuries back.

Now, I say all this as but an interested observer: one of the great tragedies of my life is that I love caffeine but hate coffee. What I love about antipodean indie cafes is their vibe. London abounds with quality pubs, bars and clubs but is sadly lacking the kind of cafes Melbourne has by the hundreds. They're invariably friendly, fun and filled with interesting people. The decor is eclectic and often maximalist: every surface covered with posters, pictures and trinkets. There's always a liberal supply of fliers and pamphlets advertising all manner of local happenings. Old, random, mismatched furniture is the norm and there's almost certainly a few couches - usually vast and collapsed ones that require so much effort to get up from that one decides one would rather keep sitting. In short, they're the kind of place I love to while away a Sunday afternoon.

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