Sep 30, 2011

Berkelouw Books Newtown

Doesn't it make your day when you find yourself a magical space that feels like an oasis of calm and positive energy? A place that seems so far away from the everyday yet doesn't take hours of travel on congested roads to get to?  Mr SSG and I found such a place in Berkelouw Books, a combined cafe and bookstore.  Where the coffee and books are equally strong partners in the union.

Tucked away on the second floor of discrete retail space on O'Connell Street  is where you find what is now officially my favourite place for coffee in Newtown.

The ground floor of Berkelouw houses an ecclectic range of new books and gifts.  As we'd (just) survived peak hour traffic, Mr SSG and I both went straight up the stairs in search of coffee and food.  It was a rare occasion where my hunger overpowered my urge to window shop and browse.

Walking up the wooden staircase to the cafe was like entering the cosy attic or studio that achingly hip friend from uni who could turn everything into memorable art. 

There were wooden book cases piled high with a wide range of interesting, almost new condition secondhand books. classified by subject for non fiction and author for fiction.  Which is hardly a surprise but still it had to be said.  Regulars made themselves comfortable at their favourite tables with their computers and browsed the shelves as they waited for coffee or inspiration or perhaps both.  It was the way I wish the libraries at uni operated.

I found one of Sophie Lee's novels on my travels.

I've always been fascinated by Sophie.  She managed to survive the sex symbol tag when she first burst into the public eye as a host of a childrens' cartoon program to become the person she wanted to be.  An author, an actress, a mother and a partner.  And all without a dependence on reality television or tabloid publicity stunts to promote each phase of her career and each milestone of her life.  In control of her own destiny.

I could have spent all morning reminiscing about the past but our morning tea had arrived.  There is a full kitchen as part of the cafe at Berkelouw and the walls are stacked high with all sorts of ingredients. I have a sneaking suspicion the cheesecakes are made in house.  We ordered a mango baked cheesecake and it was get out of town one of the best cheesecakes I've had at a cafe in ages.

Despite the number of books and the number of seats in the cafe, it still felt airy due to the great natural light and open floor length windows.

Looking back at my photos, I realize they all have a languid feel to them.  Partly because of the light and the general Newtown vibe but also because I went hipstamatic for today's review.  All this iPhone 5 news is very exciting.  I have heard rumours that we are talking of an 8 megapixel camera with a new lens come October 4.  I'm in based on this alone.  I love the photos I get with my iPhone and hipsta, especially now that there are all these new lens and films packs coming out all the time.

As I alluded to earlier, seriously the best coffee in Newtown.  No burnt aftertaste, perfect temperature, top grade cocoa.

Oh sigh.  Retro, deconstructed style everywhere I looked.

Inner city landscapes looked back at me from the windows.

If I sat in one of those easy chairs, I don't think I'd ever leave.

Mr SSG was quite content with his flat white but alas, that was not bottomless and when he had drained his cup, we had to hit the road.

There was a friendly sight back on street level, the local T2 store's window display.

My favourite tea and coffee on the same street, how good is that?

Berkelouw Books Newtown on Urbanspoon


  1. I love this Berkelouw books shop! I live about 5 minutes away and it is a perfect time waster! Coffee and books :-)

  2. tough call on best coffee - after all Campos is just around the corner. That has to be my absolute favourite x

  3. I love bookshops as well as cafes, so when the two come together it's just perfection! Sure beats Elisabeth's in Perth! I'm waiting for iPhone 5 too! My 3GS is definitely on the outs.

  4. What a wonderful post. I love bookshops, especially good second hand ones and to find a space which is relaxing, with a postive vibe in busy city is always fab.

  5. I love a real bookshop, they are getting hard to find, my favourite one just closed down. That looks like an absolute treasure.

  6. Berkelouw Books looks amazing! The perfect space. Great find!

  7. Even though I love my Kindle, there is something about pre-loved books that will always have a special place in my heart. They have such history. Combine that with good coffee and cheesecake and you have me - hook, line and sinker.

    K xx

  8. This is a bit off topic, but I just wanted to tell you that I read "Something Borrowed" on my trip back from Greece, after you recommended it here on the blog! I loved it, and can't wait to get my hands on the next books:)

  9. Rhiannon: you are so lucky to live so close!

    Heavenly Ingredients: I must be the only person in Sydney who doesn't completely feel the Campos love.

    F: that's why you need to come visit soon xxx

    Fifi: it's always a special moment when you find places like this in the city. Hope Brisbane is going well.

    MissPosy: so exciting that you're moving across next year!

    K: when I get some extended time off, I am going to make it my priority to hit cafes like this every day...

    Nanne: glad you liked 'Something Borrowed'. I am enjoying the rest of the books in the series too.

    SSG xxx

  10. I really like the atmosphere at Berkelouw. I always feel that books and food go so well together too! :)

  11. i've been meaning to go here, just another reason!


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