You may already know Jamie’s Espresso Bar, corner of Robertson Street and James Street. It’s a place many of us go to relax, hang out with the community and drink some great coffee. Jamie has been on the block for a while now and we wanted to get his insight on the area we’ve all come to know and love.
H&H: When did you open?
J: October 5, 1998
H&H: What was the café like then?
J: Well the café was tiny. It was just my front bar, it had four stools. There was no side area or back room. The carpark was grass and dirt. And it was just me, I had no staff, I made the coffees.
H&H: Were many people drinking coffee then?
J: Not as much as now. I remember making about 10 coffees the first day and that was because my family showed up. The second day was less.
H&H: Were there many other cafes around back then?
J: Down on James street there were no cafes, a few opened 6 months to a year after mine. Vroom Café opened across the road. But besides me there was the New Farm Deli down at Merthyr, a few cafes up in the mall and that was it.
H&H: What about James Street? What was it like compared to then and now?
J: Well at the time I remember when I opened I could look across and see the whole Merlo factory. There was a Used Car Dealership across the road and where Bang and Olufsen was, there used to be an old petrol station that they were decontaminating. Across where The Calile is being built there were a few new shops starting to be built. But it all use to be a Coca Cola factory. And then Robertson Street was even a little bit seedy. There was an SNM club there. Yeah… it was a lot different.
H&H: So have your regulars changed over the years?
J: Yeah, I mean I’ve got people who have come for the entirety of my shop. But you get new regulars all the time and then you get people who come and go and come back again… A bit like the tides really.
H&H: What’s your favourite part or thing about the area?
J: For me it’s very comfortable and cosy. The area has a nice village feel and the community is fantastic. There’s a lot of nice people about, a lot of good energy.
H&H: Do you live in the area?
J: Yeah, my house is about 350 meters up the road, it’s great!
H&H: What’s something not many people know about you?
J: Well my Granddad, who had the same name as me, owned a café opposite The Brisbane City Hall before King George Square existed in 1950. This was when Albert Street went right through to Ann Street. It was called The Star Bean Café.
Big thank you to Jamie for sharing your stories and coffee with us! Check them out online below –