Advertisement



News

August 9, 2013

The latte lavatories: old toilet blocks facing a cafe makeover

They are seedy and entirely unlovely, redolent of graffiti, urine and filth. But three vacant Sydney toilet blocks may soon be occupied under a plan to turn them into cafes.

The City of Sydney has been fielding offers from cafe operators to take over decommissioned public toilets at Taylor Square, Belmore Park near Central Station, and Hickson Road at Millers Point.

It would put the idle council assets to work and create unusual new commercial spaces in a city intent on ”reactivating” its forgotten nooks.

Forget the past: A historical toilet block located in Belmore Park may soon be your local coffee stop. Photo: Lidia Nikonova

In particular the Hickson Road site, built into a cliff face, is a potential goldmine. It is across the road from Barangaroo, one of Australia’s largest urban redevelopments, where hordes of builders, and later office workers, will be looking for a coffee and croissant fix.

Despite the structures’ insalubrious past, a council spokesman said it had received ”a number of enquiries to convert these old toilets into cafes, so there is clearly interest”. The council will finalise how to re-use the facilities after signing off on its public toilet strategy – a Sydney first.

However, a council development application for the Taylor Square site, long slated for re-use, seeks to convert the space ”for future use as a cafe” including counters, lighting and outdoor seating.

Stomach-turning though it might sound, the concept of restrooms-turned-restaurants is not unheard of.

In London, an underground Victorian-era men’s toilet has been converted into a cafe called the Attendant, replete with the original porcelain urinals, which now serve as booths.

In Sydney, the Gardener’s Lodge cafe at Victoria Park, Camperdown, and the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar at Circular Quay have also had past lives as lavatories.

The bar’s manager Dimple Nanikram said customers often inquire about the building’s history. ”We tell them it used to be public toilets … They just laugh and say it’s better as a restaurant,” she said.

Colliers International retail leasing manager Alex Berentsen said after the renovations, customers would likely ”forget what it used to be”. As for retaining the toilet theme, he said while Sydneysiders are not averse to quirky conversions, ”I still don’t think you’d want to call up your mate and say, ‘I’m at the toilet cafe’.”

The president of the 2010 Darlinghurst Surry Hills Business Partnership, Lawrence Gibbons, questioned why the council had installed portable urinals on Oxford Street, ”turning it into an open-air toilet” while the Taylor Square block sat idle. ”Wouldn’t you think restoring it to its historic use would make sense?” he said. The council plans to install automated toilets at Taylor Square and Belmore Park.

Mecca Espresso partner Sam Sgambellone said re-using lavatories was ”something that if you do creatively, people will talk about it”.

Prime locations: Many of the historical toilet blocks are located in great areas for business, such as Taylor Square (pictured above) and Hickson Road. Photo: Lidia Nikonova

August 6, 2013




Advertisment Advertisment
 
 

 

Would you walk over 2 weeks for a cup of coffee?

By CCDigital – August 4, 2020  Just how far would you walk for a cup of coffee? Community Bean Coffee’s founder, Nathan Stone, has been walking for 19 days on a human-sized hamster wheel to try and fund his new busi...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

The Wood Roaster

By CCDigital – August 4, 2020  Situated on Shepherd Street, in the heart of Marrickville is The Wood Roaster, one of the most unique speciality coffee roasters in New South Wales and winner of MICE 2020...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Puqpress success is just the beginning

By CCDigital – August 4, 2020  Puqpress is now in over 50% of cafes across Australia. Leveraging off this huge success, Barista Technology are now focusing on building a strong team and an armament of new products. Br...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Karvan Coffee Roasters

Family-owned in WA, Brad and Fleur have created truly exceptional products for the specialty coffee market. “For us, it’s not just about offering scrumptious coffee beans, it’s about the people. Forming connections, embra...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
Advertisement
 

Pure Tea

Ethically sourced, sustainably produced, and high grade – Pure Tea seeks to offer tea leaves that look after both the drinker and the environment. Owned and operated by Brad and Fleur, the husband and wife duo have a pass...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

The Packaging People Pty. Ltd

The Packaging People The Packaging People is a 100% Australian owned and operated family business serving multiple industries Australia wide. We are the trusted packaging company for over 10,000 customers across all areas of Au...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 
Priestleys

Priestley’s Gourmet Delights

Priestley’s Gourmet Delights puts the Cake in Coffee & Cake. Reach out to us and experience our latest creations including our much loved range of gluten free and vegan desserts. Australian family owned and operated, our ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Coronavirus information and support for business

By CCDigital – July 27, 2020 Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses. We’ll be updating this page as new information is available. Latest news Extens...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

E65S – Faster, Quieter and More Consistent!

By CCDigital – July 29, 2020  The E65S grind by weight is set for release later this year and Barista Technology will be launching the new M3 Puqpress to sit underneath both models in September.  Mahlkonig are th...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

The future of portable cafes.

By CCDigital – July 14, 2020  At less than the cost of a coffee van or a full shop fit out, Cafe Containers are set to be the future of portable cafes. If we’re honest with ourselves, not many people can start their...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 




ad