Time Out Melbourne

Get in while you can - this specialist coffee nook is here for a good time, not a long time

Itinerant cafés are officially A Thing, Melbourne. In Flinders Lane you have Tom Thumb – an espresso and wine bar temporarily plugging a space owned by St Ali’s Salvatore Malatesta until he’s ready to use it himself, and now there’s Place Holder: a purveyor of single origin espressi, chilled pourovers and organic bircher muesli squatting in the lobby of what will eventually be a block of apartments on Smith Street.

This is part of building developer Neometro’s grand plan to make better use of their temporarily empty spaces. They've also let the plant fans at 3000 Acres turn the rear carpark into a community garden, so you can either take your sweet, nutty espresso sat inside at the sleek kitchen-style bench or head out back and bask in the warm glow of other people’s hard work.

That coffee is good too – Sonam Sherpa of the Top Paddock flock is barista-ing here like a boss and he constantly has a couple of grinders on the go, packing beans from Market Lane, Axil, or Seven Seeds. Too hot or jittery for a double shot ristretto? Get him to make you a chilled pourover. It's filtered over ice and it comes out so light and bright it's almost like a tea.

There's not much in the way of food – a handful of cakes – but the good vibes know no bounds. Everything is organic and they even trek their waste to Silo Café in the city where it's dehydrated into compost for the garden. Fitzroy is loving it. There's not a street sign in sight that isn't holding up a fixie, and trowel-toting locals abound. Once the building is finished, the Place Holder concept will move to next site, so get in while the getting is good.

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Updated on 2 Apr 2014.

By Gemima Cody   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

Place Holder details

9 Smith St, Fitzroy 3065

Nearby Stations: North Richmond

Price per person including drinks Up to $50

Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 8am-3pm

Place Holder website

Place Holder map

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