Melbourne is a city full of people with an insatiable hunger for the newest exciting venture: hungry for coffee, hungry for food, hungry for culture. Places that attempt to incorporate all of these things are popping up ever more in Melbourne, from the Central Business District all the way out to the eastern suburb of Richmond.
Swan Street Chamber of Commerce. located on Swan Street in Richmond, is a pop-up powerhouse of all sorts of culinary and cultural goodness. In what was formerly a bank (and is destined, post pop-up to become a pub), Adam Del Mastro of the Pop Union—formerly of prolific cafes such as Seven Seeds, St. Ali, and Auction Rooms—has curated a selection of quality retailers to inhabit the beautiful Art Deco two-story building.
On the first floor, your senses are overwhelmed at every angle—in the best possible way. Immediately to the left of the entrance, there’s Pressed Juices—a healthy cold pressed juice store that stocks fruity creations to cure all sorts of ailments (especially if your ailment is a lack of delicious juices). Next to the juices, there’s a lovely amount of greenery courtesy of Thrive Flowers and Living Frames, the former creating beautiful pieces of floral art and the latter selling an inventive wall frame that allows you to have cascading vertical greenery wherever you please.
Around the corner, there are an array of treats that may not be as healthy as the pressed juices, but they’ll definitely make you feel just as good. First, there’s My Two Mums: makers of delicious ice cream sandwiches like red velvet cookies with coffee ice cream, or fruit loop and marshmallow cookies with classic vanilla. On the wall to the right of My Two Mums is an array of treats for sale from chocolatier extraordinaire Monsieur Truffe, while the wall to the left is a delightful display of beautiful handmade cups, courtesy of the Cup Shop (brainchild of Adam Del Mastro).
Sydney-based company Will&Co bring the caffeinated goodness to this Swan Street establishment, with their first retail appearance in Melbourne. Coffee is served through two beautiful looking Faema E61s, and poured into either takeaway cups or ceramics that have been crafted to look identical to the takeaways (which is a surprisingly confounding thing to behold on first glance).
Next to Will&Co is Rustica Sourdough’s portion of the pop-up, an institution that serves up delicious baked goods, like an Ispahan croissant (inspired by the iconic rose & lychee flavored creation of the same name from Pierre Hermé in Paris), or cronuts in a range of inventive flavors.
If you’re getting peckish for some savory goods after all this, you can pop out the back to have a delicious item from one of the food trucks that take residence here, which could be either Hammer & Tong’s very popular soft shell crab sandwich truck or Beatbox Kitchen’s roaming home of delicious burgers and chips.
After you’ve had some delicious savory goodness, it’s time to head up the curved stairwell to the beautiful light-filled second floor of the Chamber of Commerce. Here, you walk through a hallway decked with Living Frames in action, right into The Val Cinema—an ingenious little theater setup decked with beautiful aqua-colored chairs salvaged from an old church. Here they screen cult films, unseen new releases, and lost classics, like Amelie, or Who Framed Roger Rabbit—alongside freshly popped popcorn, or delicious ice cream sandwiches from their downstairs neighbors.
Past the cinema is a spectacularly light and bright space that houses tea specialists Storm in a Teacup and record store Gutterhype Records. With an extensive tea menu alongside some delicious sweet treats, Storm in a Teacup bring their A-game to this space—especially with their use of the Alpha Dominche Steampunk brewer.
The Steampunk has traditionally been marketed and used for coffee around the world, but Hannah Dupree of Storm in a Teacup said that she has found it to be a perfect apparatus for brewing quality tea—and we’d tend to agree. Gutterhype brings a collection of fascinating records, as well as a lovely lounge-room feel to this upstairs space—it’s the sort of spot where you could comfortably while away hours at a time without even realizing.
While all this sounds like plenty to do in one space, there’s still one more addition due to take up residence at the Swan Street Chamber of Commerce as of February 19th—CerealAnytime, a pop-up cereal store with a huge range of cereals, milks, and toppings to choose from—it’s pretty much the pantry of your wildest breakfast dreams.
All in all, Swan Street Chamber of Commerce has brought a wealth of culinary and cultural indulgence to Richmond—where else can you get every sweet, savory, and caffeinated craving satisfied alongside something for your sense of smell, sight, and sound? It’s a sensory overload, but of the best kind.