The Blackout crew opens the doors to its new St Lucia espresso bar If You Say So
Any coffee spot that operates 365 days a year is going to earn a loyal following of caffeine fiends. Paddington dispensary Blackout is one of the suburb’s most frequented nooks not only because it’s committed to giving folks a fix all year long, but also because the team goes to great lengths to ensure each cup is a damn good one. If You Say So – Blackout team’s brand-new espresso bar – is taking its sibling’s dependability and adherence to quality and transporting it a few suburbs south to St Lucia. The charming caffeinery officially opens today, Monday January 17 – have a look inside …
Ask Eli Rami and Sam Holman what the secret to running a good coffee spot is and they’ll likely tell you that it all boils down to consistency and reliability. Consistency means serving an on-point product every time and reliability means being there to deliver said product whenever someone needs it. The duo, who are the head honchos behind roasting outfit The Black Lab Coffee Co., wine bar Noir and cafe supply business The Milkmen, have put this ethos into practice with their workhorse Paddington dispensary Blackout, which operates every day of the year, including Christmas Day. This moody hole-in-the-wall’s near-ceaseless coffee trade has cemented it as a linchpin of the local coffee scene, proving that if you build it (‘it’ being a 365-day-trading caffeine spot), they will come (coffee drinkers, that is). One of Blackout’s regular patrons ended up being the link between the coffee crew and its newest venture, If You Say So – a similarly compact cafe nestled on Gailey Road in St Lucia. The customer, an agent handling the sales for Lusso Residences – a newly constructed collection of apartments on the corner of Gailey Road and Prospect Terrace – informed Eli and Sam that a small detached shopfront on the property (once home to Kia Ora Tea House in the early 1900s) was up for grabs if the two were interested in expanding. As it happened, the team had been on a low-key hunt for an expansion site for a little while, seeking a spot that didn’t overlap with any of its wholesale clientele and boasted a coffee-deprived community that it could cater to. The building’s main road positioning offered potential as a nifty pit stop for commuters heading inbound, while its proximity to Jack Cook Memorial Park also meant that there was ample green space for weekend wanderers looking to soak up some sun and some coffee. The crew signed on and began a fit-out process late last year, transforming the empty shell into a fetching specialty coffee slinger that operates 365 days a year.
Aesthetically, If You Say So looks markedly different compared to its cloistered cousin, swapping spartan minimalism for something a bit more colourful and eye-catching. Sam designed the space himself, imbuing the venue with a Moroccan-inspired feel courtesy of sherbet-coloured venetian plaster coating the feature wall behind the terrazzo-topped and fluted-timber-fronted coffee bar. Roughly 18 seats are available across an interior bench and a scattering of tables outside, but the crew are in the process of sourcing blankets that can be loaned out and taken over the road to the park. Later this week the team will install a new window in the building’s southwest wall, opening up the space and adding more natural light. As for the coffee itself, the If You Say So crew has all of the essential elixirs needed to get your system fired up and humming. A space-age machine churns out all of the usual milky and black espresso pours, while two self-serve taps dispense rotating single-origin batch brews with pin-point accuracy. Cold-drip coffee and the crew’s own BRB cold brew beverages are also available alongside cans of Kombu kombucha, Pinnacle sparkling iced teas and juices. The food offering is simple, but sure to satisfy – Blackout’s bacon-and-egg muffins are on deck, as well as croissants and pain au chocolat baked on site, Doughluxe doughnuts and Butterbing cookies.
If You Say So is now officially open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours.
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