Published 25th September 2010
I have always loved the notion of a specialty coffee shop with superb coffee, interesting snacks & cakes, books, music and art, and now there is emerging a new set of coffee shops in Cairns with identities far placed from that of any coffee house franchise and who selectively choose their coffee beans.
After enjoying a hilarious documentary entitled ‘Exit through the Gift Shop,’ (recommended) presented by End Credits at CoCo, about street art, I was curious to see if Cairns has picked up on the Melbourne trend of laneway renaissance of art and food. So off on an excursion around Cairns I searched for art and cafes of our lanes.
Bang Espresso is not down a lane but does have lane art on its walls at the Boland Centre on Spence Street where owner Roy McPherson set the bar high when opening in 2008 with a feel of Melbourne urban sophistication. Great coffee and food, great music, convivial space and friendly staff. Bang’s coffee blend hails from six different origins and is independently Master roasted in Sydney.
Not quite in a lane but at the corner of an arcade (Mainstreet) is Ever After Cafe Bookstore; another specialty coffee establishment in the Lake Street Mall. Run by mother and son team, Mary and Nick Roberts. Nick has worked as a barista around Melbourne and it has paid off; their coffee was recently praised by an online coffee geek website as the best in Cairns. Popular for brekky and lunch, they have a great selection of books; old and new to browse.
Ah! I find a laneway in Grafton Street with the most fabulous art along the wall and follow it down to Caffiend; a curious little specialty coffee shop run by Ollie and Josie. Ollie really knows his coffee and serves a blend of nine beans. He also has Nigel Giacomi who won the last two years Cairns Barista Competition behind the machine on Saturday mornings. With the same passion he inherited from his previous employer NuNu, Ollie sources local products and produce to make his own jams, sauces for his all-day brekky & luncheon specials.
The renaissance has begun. So watch this space, or should I say ‘the laneways’ as they re-invent themselves into trendy quarters for the next generation of cafes, art and interesting shops.