A friend and I went to a new café the other day. It was fine, but it just lacked a bit of oomph. It was only recently opened, and they'd obviously spent a bit of money on the fit-out, but we both agreed it was just a bit too... sterile.
I've spent a bit of time thinking about it. Because obviously these people are passionate about their business and would like it to succeed, but I'm a bit worried that it's just not possible. You see, when it comes to a successful café it needs personality.
And I think I've worked out what it needs.
It needs to be instagramable. (Is that a word? Is now).
Ideally you should go into a space and be seized with inspiration. Your eyes need to alight on something interesting that fills you with delight. It can't be sterile - it has to offer something. Here's a few shots I've snapped off in other cafés recently. Each of them offers something that delights you, intrigues you and makes you feel you're somewhere worth being.
See this shot above? It's at Bank Corner Espresso - the most FABULOUS Art Deco hole-in-the-wall café. It was FILLED with Instagram-worthy moments. I could have gone crazy. Actually, I did. And so did my friend. We loved it.
Here's another teeny tiny. The WoolStore at Maryville. Teeny. Two tables teeny. But fabulous. My friend and I both managed to snap an almost identical shot here - but look at it - gorgeous!
I love Frankie's Place. Seriously you could just wave your phone around at random snapping shots and they'd all be incredible. Great atmosphere, fabulous staff, cool menu. Love.
Here's Ground Up at Carrington. For a start it's housed in an old butchers so has the authentic tiles on the wall. Love. But there's much to look at here. And the coffee is divine. Oh, and crispy bacon? Totes drool-worthy.
Here we have Dark Horse Espresso. Love the dark painted walls, cushions, and vintage-style artwork. Heck, even that fan's worthy of a close-up.
And it's not just in Newy that has image-worthy places. Here's a gorgeous nook at the Maitland Art Gallery Café. Love it. You should have seen the piles of fabulous books to browse through. This bookworm's going to spend an afternoon there one day...
Here's a bit of coffee art from Conroy Bradley Pistol Club. Fab coffee, vintage spoons and saucers and a gorgeous table topped with a vintage map make for an Instagram-worthy café experience. Oh, and the barista may well be one of my faves - enthusiastic, great service and so very sweet.
So there you have it, my guide to starting a café. You might have great coffee and food, but you need to consider the ambience first. That's what makes people come in, order and linger. It doesn't have to be vintage (although that's obviously my fave style) it just needs to be atmospheric and interesting.
What do you think?
ps: that loveheart coffee is from Ground Up - bless.
pps: what some would arguably say is Newy's first 'proper' café, Goldbergs, totally subscribes to this theory. It has an amazing ambiance that's visible from the street. Showing why it's still as popular after years in trading and many owners (who were smart enough to go with the flow and not try to make it their own).
ppps: these are just a couple of fab places I've visited in the last month, a mere snippet of what's on offer. Newy coffee peeps - share some of your faves?