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Home, James: Coffee icon goes back to the future in latest venture

The Weekend Edition

Long before James Street morphed into the powerhouse promenade it is today, Jamie’s Espresso was there ensuring locals had a reliable spot to get a good cup of coffee. It remained a constant even as luxury hotels, ritzy restaurants and a swathe of boutique retail outlets sprouted up around it.

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At the end of July Jamie’s Espresso will close its postage stamp-sized dispensary in anticipation of a move. Don’t worry, folks – it’s not going far. Before year’s end Jamie’s Espresso will reopen just a coffee-bean toss from where it first made its bones more than 20 years ago. Here’s what you can expect …

Jamie’s Espresso Bar has moved before. In 2019 it closed its long-running joint on the corner of James Street and Robertson Street, reopening a piccolo-sized pouring station near At Sixes & Sevens. With this next change of residence, Jamie Bellas is moving his operations back around the corner – 50-odd metres from his original Robertson Street location.

He’s also taking the opportunity to once again bolster the lauded coffee service with some after-dark trade. Long-time fans of Jamie’s Espresso Bar will remember that the original location boasted a liquor licence – well, Jamie is ensuring that Jamie’s 3.0 doubles as a great locals’ bar, much like it was before.

On Friday nights, the venue will open as low-key neighbourhood watering hole serving a selection of boozy beverages as well as a small selection of bar snacks. It will open other nights of the week for private nighttime functions, too, with room for groups of 40 guests. During the day, Jamie’s will operate very much like the original shop – slinging cups of brew made on Seven Miles Coffee Roasters beans while also turning out a slightly bigger breakfast and lunch menu.

Architectural and interior-design firm Twohill & James is working with Jamie on the cafe’s fit-out and aesthetic. An L-shaped coffee bar will be the venue’s centrepiece, while banquettes and window seating will ensure plenty of great places to sit, relax, and hide out away from James Street’s buzzing strip.

We’ve been told to expect a design that brings elements of the outside in, with plenty of timber creating a sense of warmth. Jamie will close his James Street dispensary at the end of July, with fit-out on the new location expected to commence shortly. Though Jamie is keeping ballpark opening dates close to his chest, we can expect Jamie’s to reopen well before year’s end.

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