Tag Archives: The corner shop

Another corner shop

Having lived through the excitement of the coming of Revolver to Annandale Street a couple of years back, this blog is having flashbacks as another corner shop is in the process of being transformed just down the road. When we moved here five months or so ago, the shop on the corner of Edgeware Road and Alice Street was boarded up. We heard rumours that it was to be a coffee shop, but the For Sale sign with its annotation Offer Under Consideration made the rumours seem insubstantial. In recent weeks, all that has changed.

It’s still a construction site and the old milk bar signage is still there, but things are happening. Unlike Revolver, which stayed nameless almost until the opening day, this establishment has announced its new identity: The Wolf & Honeybee Cafe Gallery. Unlike Rod and Chie of Revolver, who kept the neighbours informed on progress with a series of charming bulletins on  the old shop’s boarded up windows, the Wolf & Honeybee’s Conal is silent on the street but has a stylish web presence: a web site, an Eatability listing (which is where I got Conal’s name), and a facebook presence that includes photos of the site being cleaned up and, Art Student take note, intimations that they will soon be calling for submissions of artwork. Unlike the northern end of Annandale, this area is well endowed with coffee places: there’s Petty Cash, the Bourke Street Bakery in Mitchell Street, Kellerman’s at the pool, the Bell Jar on Alice Street and any number of chains in the Metro around the corner. Still, it seems there’s always room for more. I’m looking forward to the opening, which they hope will be at the end of the month.

Street-fightin’ gentry

A little of the paper war about Revolver spilled over into the physical world on the weekend. I was taking Nessie out for her evening constitutional, just as the café was closing round about 4 o’clock. As I neared the corner I became aware of raised voices. Rod, the café owner, was standing at the fence of nearby neighbours, and both the man and the woman of the house were making a lot of noise with their mouths. I’m a dreadful reporter – I couldn’t distinguish a word they were saying. But as I passed them, their little dogs came charging at the fence yapping furiously at Nessie. Nessie, of course, responded in kind and I was preoccupied with getting her to the corner. I did hear Rod say, with admirable calm, ‘Well, all I can say is, go ahead and take more photos …’ Someone told me that he had offered them free breakfasts, but it seems they are implacable.

Apparently just before I arrived on the scene, the outraged neighbour had shouted into the cafe, urging Rod to pack up and leave because no one wanted him there, and then seized the brass ashtray, threatening to smash it on the footpath. Oh dear!

Revolver: the paper battle

As regular readers will know, I’ve considered the progress of our corner shop from sad dereliction to rebirth as Revolver, the coolest cafe on the block, to be a Very Good Thing. It’s rare these days to see the cafe empty, so I’m guessing that my sentiment is widely shared, and when Rod put in a DA to add four more four-seat outside tables to the one that’s currently allowed, I wished him well and sent an email to Council in support.

But it seems not everyone has cause to rejoice. People drive here now, especially since Revolver has been written up in Places People Read, and this has created parking problems for the immediate neighbours. Sometimes the clientele leave dogs tied up outside, and there are noisy encounters as local dogs go by. Yesterday we received a letter from the Council telling us that an Assessment Report was now available on the Council’s web site.

30102009(002)

Kindness to smokers and dogs

If you visit the web page where the DA is tracked and click on the little ‘+’ sign next to the heading ‘Documents’, you get some idea of the agonising paper trail that must be followed to get a project like this up. Roughly 50 documents were generated – though admittedly many were pretty much duplicates (our today’s letter is there, along with the similar letter to others who put in a submission). The Assessment Report, once you get past the bureaucratese, is a fascinating documentation of democracy in action. Roughly half of it is taken up with responses to the objections, which are quoted and dealt with paragraph by paragraph. While I can see that people had grounds for unease, particularly in relation to the parking issue, I admit to being shocked by the tone of some of the objections, peppered as they are with words like ‘ludicrous’, ‘blatant’, ‘incomprehensible’, ‘disingenuous’, ‘unreasonable’. To have lodged an application at all is, in one person’s view, barely legal. Another seethes over the OH&S implications of Rod’s practice of putting a bowl of water out for passing dogs, asserting that it leads to ‘excessive, uncontrolled howling’. That smokers will throw their butts and cigarette packets into people’s front yards, as history demonstrates, is another cause for complaint. What’s more, ‘families accompanied by their children on bikes and scooters and a baby in the pram’ might congregate there in ‘large and inappropriate’ gatherings.

The case against the extra tables has not, so far, prevailed. The report recommends that the DA be approved with conditions about smoking, littering and so on. I’m glad of that, but sad to realise that this no longer an unalloyed feel-good story!

Café affects house prices

There was a house auction in our block today In his opening spiel, the auctioneer said that Annandale was the best place in Sydney to buy, the reasons being the wide tre-lined streets, the proximity to public transport and  … the café on the corner.

26092009

The thong-wearing (that’s footwear) woman who won the bid at $1.3 million after a heart-stopping $1000 at a time bidding war may or may not have been swayed by Revolver’s existence.

Added on 1 November: At an auction yesterday, much closer to the corner, the auctioneer made much more out of Revolver’s proximity. The fabulous Annandale lifestyle now consists, it seems, of waking up and strolling across the street for a double shot latte. And the house went for a mere $1.6 million.

Revolver unveiled

The corner shop is no longer in the making. Whenever I’ve walked down the street in the days since I’ve been home there have been people inside, sitting at the bench by the window and at the table outside in the sun. Clearly Rod’s understanding of his potential market was sound. I caused a terrible racket by walking past with Nessie on the lead; she remained virtuously silent (I don’t mention the aggressively stiff tail) and let the two little dogs parked at the door go spare with rage that she should exist. This morning for the first time I actually went inside, noting as I did that people were arriving by car to have their breakfast coffee  Naturally, I took a camera.

IMG_3818

IMG_3819

IMG_3820

IMG_3821

I’ll miss the big event!

On Wednesday morning I catch a plane to the US. I’ll be attending a conference in Connecticut over next weekend and then flying on to meet up with Penny in Paris. We plan to spend a month together in France, visiting friends in Paris for a couple of days, then spending a week in a small village near Avignon, enjoying a home exchange, a week walking from Orléans to Gien with Sentiers de France, a week in another home exchange at La Grande Motte, near Montpelier, and another couple of days in Paris. I’m taking the computer, and it’s possible I’ll find the time and inclination to blog. Then again, maybe not.

Meanwhile, exciting things will be happening on the home front:

09082009(001)

09082009

Yes, the unbearably long wait is almost over, and I’m going to be somewhere in rural France on the day of the grand opening. I hope some of my readers will manage to turn up and send me a photo or two …

I did print out all my entries about the saga a couple of weeks back and leave them under the shop door.  A few days later, I was nearly bumped into by Rod while out with the dog. He came bursting out of the side door, bright orange ear muffs on his head and an arm full of timber offcuts. ‘Jonathan?’ he said. I was impressed, because although we’ve chatted regularly I didn’t think we’d exchanged names. He recognised me from my gravatar (over on the right). He invited me in for a sneak preview. I didn’t have a camera with me, but I can tell you it’s not a bland space. My first impression was of a Japanese feel – one wall features a large manga-type image with graffiti tags, there’s a lot of wood, and an eclectic array of chairs, stools and benches, some of them upholstered in gorgeous fabric from Tokyo or thereabouts. There’s a chandelier and a miscellany of elegant lamps. It’s not a huge space, but somehow it manages to have a number of discrete parts to it – a counter, a wooden benchtop, tables. It’s a folie, a labour of love, an adventure. At the end of the month it becomes a café.

Right! Back to the cleaning.

Corner shop: the (inside) story so far

Rod, proprietor of our approaching corner shop /cafe, has had enough leisure time to post a photo essay in the window:

shop

Here’s the detail:

shop1

shop3shop2

shop4

shop5shop6

shop7shop8shop9

Finished! Woo hoo! Opening day can’t be far off.

Corner Shop: development application

Here’s a sight that struck fear into my heart. After months of work, a development proposal has been lodged. Oh, as they say, noes! The whole thing has been skating on very thin ice and now it might be declared illegal.

09072009

But closer examination revealed that the proposal is to have the number of outside tables increased ‘from four (4) to twenty (20)’. Incidentally, since I was about eight years old, I’ve wondered why notices from local councils and similar organisations do that with numbers. My mother explained to me that it’s so people who have trouble reading the spelled out version will be helped by the numerical version. I wasn’t convinced then, and now it just looks like ornamentation to indicate officialness.

I wrote off to Council expressing my support.

I had a brief chat the other day with Rod, the proprietor, who is looking slightly less harried though possibly more panicked with each passing day. He’s now chasing up suppliers, and said he was confident the grand opening would happen before 12 August.

Corner shop: Foreshadowing

A little glimpse of what may be in store in the store:

callingartists

Transcription:

CALLING ALL ARTISTS

REVOLVER … a new inner city cafe opening soon wanting to give up and coming artists a place to show what they can do … Not just another cafe.gallery selling art.

ONE SPACE ONLY!!!! … 70cm x 100cm in beautiful old gilt frame that you do what you like and we showcase it for a month no cost to you showing your contact details. No other art in the place … just you 🙂

REVOLVER has a stunning Victorian/Hip hop flavour that is going to create a new space for locals to mix it up and relax, and wants yo give any artist wanting to get great exposure a chance …

Call Rod on [see image above] or

Email at rod at revolver dot com dot au

Brought to you as a community service

The corner shop: swish doors

This isn’t one of those paintings that looks as if it’s just a white canvas but turns out to be covered with tiny Arabic characters or the like. It’s a much poorer thing: a photograph by way of progress report on our corner shop that has been in the making for a very long time.

I noticed on my walk yesterday that the ply panels in the doors, which functioned as a chat board of sorts for while, allowing people to argue the merits of the mermaid and various bread suppliers, to exclaim about desirability of having coffee on our corner, those panels have been replaced by glass. And the glass, backed by white paper to hide the shop’s interior, is etched with a design whose mechanico-Victoriana lines echo the painted wall that an unphotographed sneak preview revealed to your blogger some time back.

27062009

So, we have glass in the door. Can opening day be far behind?

Stay tuned.