Wander down Little Collins Street in Melbourne’s city center, and you’re struck by an interesting intersection of old and new: there are antiquated opal traders on one block, high-end haute couture clothing stores on the next, and sketchy alleyways everywhere (think graffiti-covered, don’t-walk-down-alone-at-night vibes). Somewhere in the midst of all that, Midtown, the new venture from Mark Free and Aaron Maxwell of Everyday Coffee, has made its home.
Opened mid-September, Midtown is a beautiful space—sitting in a neat glass box (i.e. floor to ceiling glass windows), it combines the rawness of concrete with the warmth of light wood and splashes of greenery. Architect Andrej Vodstrcil, a friend of Maxwell’s, designed the space with a little help from fellow architect Naomi Brennan. This minimal aesthetic is reminiscent of their store in Collingwood and ties into the Everyday brand really nicely—it’s obvious that a lot of consideration has gone into the space without overworking it.
While you won’t find any traditional cafe seating, there is a luxuriously wide wooden bench on which to lounge upon, and a neat little bar to stand and sip a coffee at on the run—with a lot of space largely to accommodate the city crowd. Free outlined that they’d been looking into city venue spaces for “what seems like forever,” and were very excited to find that this space had become available for them to bring their easygoing vibe to the hustle and bustle of the city.
For espresso service at Midtown, they’ve repurposed the original La Marzocco Linea Classic from their Collingwood flagship and added, as Free puts it, “a fresh paint job and a new lease on life”—essentially, a lovely new matte grey exterior and a Supreme-esque typeface proclaiming “midtown” for all to see. To the left of this sit two Nuova Simonelli Mythos One Clima-Pro grinders (one for their milk blend, the other for single-origin black coffees), and to the right is a cute one-tap Juggler, an ingenious milk-dispensing unit from Six Simple Machines.
As one of the trailblazers of batch brew coffee in Melbourne over three years ago, it’s no surprise that the Everyday crew has brought the same easygoing, easy-drinking attitude to Midtown. Alongside their batch brew offering from the FETCO, Midtown also offers a couple of coffees brewed through V60—so whether you’re in a rush or lazily loitering, there’s a filter coffee option to sate any appetite. As the weather warms up in the Southern Hemisphere, Midtown’s selection of iced filter and NOLA-inspired iced milky coffee (with optional Billy Van Creamy ice cream!) will also surely be a welcome relief.
There’s no kitchen at Midtown, but sweet tooths are definitely catered to by viennoiseries from Loafer Bread, a selection of vegan, gluten-free cookie sandwiches from ACE Cookies, and Everyday’s own banana bread and salted choc-chip cookies.
One of the biggest triumphs for the Everyday team over the last year (prior to Midtown opening), has been their gradual and steady progression to roasting all of their own coffee. After starting out roasting on an under-used roaster at Coffee Supreme, they’ve recently moved their filter production roasting to the shiny Probat at Bureaux Collective. With Midtown, they hope to bring their Everyday coffee to a wider demographic of coffee lovers.
For the Everyday fellows, this city store is a chance to mix things up while also getting back to the roots of both Free and Maxwell’s collective careers, “Aaron and I both cut our teeth in high-volume [business district] coffee bars, and have always wanted to put that experience to use. Everyday Collingwood is a great relaxed neighborhood coffee shop, but we’re looking forward to a change of pace.”
Eileen P. Kenny is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Melbourne. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.