Stepping into Standing Room Only, I couldn’t help but feel transported to Europe, minus the foreign language aspect. It’s typical to find a small bar in Italy where you can pop in for a quick shot of espresso before heading out again within a few minutes. I am the first to admit that I have a sincere love of coffee and will be cranky for a few hours if my first (and typically only) cup of coffee is burnt or weak. It was a weekday when a friend and I headed down to the Perth CBD from our office in West Perth. We were keen to make the journey down to try the newest coffee bar in Perth. It is classed as a ‘bar’, because there are no chairs, no tables and very minimal bench space for you to sip your coffee. Never fear though, there is still a reason to visit.
My friend David was welcomed warmly, as he is a frequent visitor of The Lounge Room, a café in Guildford that is the sibling of Standing Room Only. I left the ordering to David, who quickly asked about the single origins on offer and whether they were suited for milk-based coffees. The friendly gent (I say gent, as he had the cutest little 50’s style apron on and the word seems to fit) stated that the single origin at the moment was excellent for milky coffees, so we ordered two for take away. The single origin was a Five Senses blend, which at first worried me. David has been telling me for a while that Five Senses are a great blend, but I seem to always have a Five Senses coffee badly made so I had yet to see the brilliance. That is until my coffee from Standing Room Only.
The blend was extremely subtle on the palate, until the aftertaste which was full of flavour. It wasn’t as strong as I expected it to taste, but it certainly had the hit of caffeine. I liked it – it was definitely a different kind of coffee than what I usually find in Perth.
All of the milk-based coffees from Standing Room Only are made with two shots. I like this aspect, as I find that coffees made with one shot are a lot more milkier than I prefer. The prices are reasonable as well, as a small take away is only $3.80 and a regular is $4.50. However, add an extra 50 cents for single origin coffee beans. Standing Room Only offers two single origin options. The first is a Five Senses bean, and the second is a “guest” bean, which is currently the Melbourne roasted Proud Mary.
There’s a prominent coffee machine at Standing Room Only, which is one of the world’s most expensive coffee machines (it cost $36,000) and is a custom built Synesso with four heads and retro wooden handles. It is a pretty sky-blue machine that was based on a 1950’s vespa and a similar colour theme is prominent in the tiny premises.
Other than typical milk-based coffees and espresso, Standing Room Only offer three other types of coffee – syphon, V60 pour over, and cold-drip and on our venture to Standing Room Only, a barista was making a syphon coffee for a customer, who was busily chatting away with the barista in regards to his method. A lovely concept, as I am not too familar with these types of coffee brewing and would be inclined to do the same. The barista was very helpful, and David and I tuned in to hear this conversation whilst waiting for our own coffee order.
The head barista is Michael Munroe, an 18 year old who recently came third place in the AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association’s WA Coffee Championships this year. He has a small team to help him, who were all young in age. Each staff member are very friendly at Standing Room Only and you feel comfortable in the small surroundings because of this aspect of the venue.