Hilary McNevin

A photo of the smoke-damaged Melbourne caf? Hardware Societe.
A photo of the smoke-damaged Melbourne cafe Hardware Societe. Photo: Di Keser

Melbourne cafe Hardware Societe has been extensively damaged overnight by smoke from a fire that began in a Thai massage shop next door.

The fire, which began about 11pm, was caused by a dryer in the laundry of the massage parlour on Hardware Lane according to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Smoke from the fire spread to the popular Hardware Societe, which could be closed for up to two months after its coldroom was destroyed and the interior of the cafe sustained smoke and water damage.

And in better times...
And in better times... Photo: Eddie Jim

“We are lucky that no one was hurt,” said the cafe's co-owner Di Keser.

Ms Keser vowed that the 70-seat cafe at 120 Hardware Lane would be back up and running as soon as possible; "It's Hardware after all.”

In the meantime she plans to extend the opening hours of Bowery to Williamsburg, a second city cafe she co-owns with husband and business partner Will, to avoid laying off staff.

“We have people we want to hang on to and we'll create work for them,” she said.

Bowery to Williamsburg (16 Oliver Lane) will open Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 3pm in addition to its weekday hours.