Just Open: Standing Room coffee, Melbourne CBD

Annabel Smith
Shopping break: Coffee and cake at the second Standing Room.
Shopping break: Coffee and cake at the second Standing Room. Photo: Supplied

Thomas Kelly's Standing Room coffee stall has been keeping University of Melbourne students caffeinated, and now he's got Bourke Street Mall shoppers in his sights.

The second Standing Room coffee spot, tucked down the side of the grand heritage-listed Royal Arcade, opened in late March.

"We like small spaces," Kelly says. The tiny 19-square-metre space has 5 Senses' Dark Horse blend in the grinder, plus a monthly single-origin batch brew and a selection of tea from T2.

Standing Room coffee in the Royal Arcade.
Standing Room coffee in the Royal Arcade. Photo: Supplied

As the name suggests, it's standing-room only, with a focus on takeaway coffee and treats. Snack-wise, there are Butterbing cookie sandwiches, Noisette pastries, and individual seasonal cakes ($4.50) from Kelly's business partners at Hapsburg Empire in Albert Park - think lemon syrup cakes with spiced quince; berry friands; salted caramel chocolate cakes; and gingerbread cakes topped with caramel popcorn.

It seems there are pros and cons of taking over a heritage-listed shopfront. The entrance features an original ornate wrought-iron spiral staircase, leading to a storage area. "It definitely looks good but it's hard to get up and down," Kelly says. The former skincare shop has been freshened up with white tiles, polished concrete floors and marble accents.

Open Mon-Fri 7.30am-4pm; Sat 10am-2pm.

Shop 48 Royal Arcade, 335 Bourke Street, Melbourne (enter via Elizabeth Street), no phone.