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Must-see list of Perth’s best and rarest coffee spots open past 2pm

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Kate EmeryThe West Australian
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It is the lament of caffeine-addicts, afternoon tea fans and night owls across Perth: why is it so hard to find a coffee after 2pm? Pictured: Our Ruby Girl barrista Mani Walker.
Camera IconIt is the lament of caffeine-addicts, afternoon tea fans and night owls across Perth: why is it so hard to find a coffee after 2pm? Pictured: Our Ruby Girl barrista Mani Walker. Credit: Iain Gillespie

It is the lament of caffeine-addicts, afternoon tea fans and night owls across Perth: why is it so hard to find a coffee after 2pm?

For a city of cafe lovers, that love is not always returned after lunchtime, with staff costs and dwindling foot traffic encouraging venues to close their doors sooner rather than later.

The Sunday Times spoke to cafe owners and customers about this phenomenon, while also seeking out those venues that buck the trend to stay open well into the afternoon — sometimes even the night.

Venue owners and managers said almost universally that the decision to close at 2pm or 2.30pm was all about the economics. With the bulk of trade coming in the morning and lunchtime, there were not enough customers in the afternoon to justify the cost of paying staff.

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Our Ruby Girl, Como, Brunch Review.
French Toast and coffee.
Camera IconSarah Yates runs Our Ruby Girl in Como, which stays open until 6pm, thanks in part to the popularity of the take-home dinner service she started during the early days of COVID-19. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Of those who opted to stay open later, some said they felt it was a valued service to the community, despite struggling at times to break even. Others had found a way to make the later hours profitable.

Sarah Yates runs Our Ruby Girl in Como, which stays open until 6pm, thanks in part to the popularity of the take-home dinner service she started during the early days of COVID-19.

“We frequently get told you can’t buy a coffee after 2pm,” Ms Yates said. “The reality is if we were just doing coffee it would not make sense to stay open. We just wouldn’t sell enough coffee and cake.

“Because we’re close to Manning Primary we get easily two or three families coming through in the afternoon so definitely between 3pm and 4pm, yes, there’s enough (business).

“I think we see in our demographic in the afternoon there is a lot of older people, people who are potentially a bit lonely and coming in by themselves for coffee and a cake.

“I think it’s just nice if you go to ta cafe where you don’t have to clock watch in the afternoon.

“We went back to 6pm mainly because of our take-home dinners, but you’d be surprised by how many coffees you do get in the afternoon.”

Ms Yates said she suspected some cafes could afford to stay open a bit longer if they looked at the numbers.

Our Ruby Girl, Como, Brunch Review.
French Toast and coffee.
Camera IconMs Yates said she suspected some cafes could afford to stay open a bit longer if they looked at the numbers.  Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

For example, she said a cafe that closed at 2pm was likely too busy to start packing up before then, meaning the owners would have to pay staff until 3pm to clear up. However, if the cafe stayed open until 3pm, that last hour of business might be quiet enough to allow staff to clean up while still serving customers.

“If we had a 4pm closing time it’s busy enough that you couldn’t start closing until 4pm,” she said. “When we close at 6pm, staff walk out the door at 6pm or five past. I would question if venues took the time to look at their labour costs. I’d be curious.”

Drive-through coffee shop Muzz Buzz may not be a traditional cafe, but it makes the long hours work. Depending on the store, some stay open as late as 6pm.

Muzz Buzz executive chairman Warren Reynolds said the numbers stacked up for the WA business.

“While there’s no doubt mornings are our busiest time of day, customers are still keen for a coffee after they’ve picked the kids up from school, or while they’re driving home from work,” he said. “If the demand wasn’t there it wouldn’t make business sense to remain open later, but the demand is there.

“Also, for us, it’s not just about offering coffee convenience, it is about other food and drink convenience too, as we also offer food and cold drinks such as juice, milkshakes, frappes.”

STM food reviewer Jade Jurewicz said the tendency of Perth venues to shut up early, whether it’s a cafe during the day or a restaurant kitchen at night, was a common complaint.

“For all of its perks and positives, Perth has a few downfalls in terms of its food scene,” she said. “It’s long been near impossible to find somewhere that hasn’t closed off its coffee machine after 2pm or get a meal after 8pm.

“I do wonder if it’s a chicken or egg situation. Have we become so accustomed to these early closing times we no longer go out to seek a much-needed afternoon caffeine hit? If venues were to keep the lights on longer, or be slinging coffees into the late afternoon, would they be getting enough orders to turn a profit?”

Ambar is a British tourist who made a TikTok video complaining that Australian cafes close too early.
Camera IconAmbar is a British tourist who made a TikTok video complaining that Australian cafes close too early. Credit: N/A/TikTok

The problem of the post-2pm coffee is not strictly a Perth problem. Earlier this year a British tourist went viral on TikTok for complaining about what she suggested was an Australia-wide problem.

“Why in Australia do all the coffee shops close at 2pm? I will go around looking for a little treat, little pick-me-up at around 3-4pm. That’s the kind of time I like to get maybe a decaf coffee or maybe a little sweet treat back at home,” she said. “But in Australia all the coffee shops and the cafes shut at 2pm. It’s like they don’t want to make money. That is my ideal time to go and sit in a cafe. Why?”

20 PLACES TO GET A LATE-ARVO COFFEE FIX IN PERTH

Our Ruby Girl, Como, 6pm

Parkside Coffee, CBD, 4pm

Sherbet Bake Shop, Maylands, 4pm

Gino’s, Fremantle, late

Sherbet in Maylands is known for its delectable baked treats and serves up your favourite breakfast classics like the bacon and egg burger as well.
Picture: Kelsey Reid
Camera IconSherbet in Maylands is known for its delectable baked treats and serves up your favourite breakfast classics like the bacon and egg burger as well. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian
Sherbet in Maylands is known for its delectable baked treats and serves up your favourite breakfast classics like the bacon and egg burger as well.
Picture: Kelsey Reid
Camera IconSherbet Bake Shop, Maylands, 4pm. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Kinky Lizard, CBD, 3pm

Mary Street Bakery Highgate, West Leederville and City Beach, 4pm

The Moon, Northbridge, midnight

Brown Spoon Cafe, Victoria Park, 9pm

Mary Street Bakery has signed up to Foody Bag.
Camera IconMary Street Bakery has signed up to Foody Bag. Credit: Instagram/RegionalHUB

Bossman Coffee, Mt Lawley, 4pm

Blue Lotus Cafe, Stirling, 4pm

Telegram Coffee, CBD, 4pm

Maison St Honore, Mt Hawthorn, 3.30pm

Voodoo Coffee, CBD, 10pm

Chubby Boy, Inglewood, 6pm

Chubby Boy cafe on Beaufort Street, Inglewood.
Camera IconChubby Boy cafe on Beaufort Street, Inglewood. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Cafe Guilty Pleasure, Northbridge and Mt Lawley, 10pm

Rifo’s, Maylands, 10pm

Big Loaf Bakery, O’Connor, 4pm

Dome Cafe, 5pm-9pm depending on the store

Big Loaf bakery
Camera IconBig Loaf bakery. Credit: Paul Edwards/TheWest

Satchmo Cafe, North Perth, 3pm

Standing Room Only, CBD, 3pm

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