Grounds of Society


Grounds of Society is located in the same shop space as the former Awkward cafe. Only open since 14 February, the cafe is owned and operated by the same couple of previously ran the Elk Horn Cafe in Wallington.

The decor reminds me of visiting my grandparents and being able to sit in the “good room”. The crockery is the traditional, old-fashioned blue and white pattern (is it willow-pattern or something similar) and the vibe is “Sunday afternoon comfy” (that said, you can’t actually visit on Sunday because Grounds only opens during the week).

In terms of the coffee, I was a little disappointed in the texture. It certainly looked good and tasted good – I just found it a bit “grainy”. Even in the first couple of sips, I found that there was a grainy component to the texture which I don’t really like to taste. In reality, that that was the difference between getting a three and a half and a four star rating.

All in all, Grounds of Society is a good place to go and have coffee if you find yourself nearby. I’ll be interested in visiting again at some stage to see whether the graininess was a one-off or not.


Address: 45 Malop Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site:
Telephone: 03 5222 8900
Open: Five days per week (closed weekends)
Price: $3.70
Coffee Suppliers: Allpress
Headline: Brand new cafe in the CBD but has a “lived in” kind of feel already. Crockery reminds me of visiting my grandparents – in a good way. Worth a visit if you work nearby.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

Chapel on Little Ryrie


The first thing that strikes you about Chapel on Little Ryrie is that the name is 100% accurate – the building is, in fact, an old Baptist church on Little Ryrie Street, just in from Fenwick Street. It boasts an outdoor area on the eastern side of the building that enables the whole inside / outside experience – on the day that I visited (a beautiful sunny Geelong day), the outside area was very well populated. The cafe offers both coffee and food from 7:30am and has a bar for those who might enjoy something a little more adventurous later in the day.

The coffee was served as it should be – in a tulip cup with a crema that was rich and, importantly, intact. I found the flavour a little sharper than I normally like but, that said, the coffee was still very enjoyable.

In regard to our new parameter of “stick around factor” (click here for explanation), I found that the cafe was a little loud, due, I suspect, to the wooden floor and very high ceilings that were the hallmark of churches in the days in which it was built. With lots of chatter and happy noise (which is a good thing), conversations bounce around and echo, making it much more appropriate as a social location than, for example, a quiet business meeting. That said, there wasn’t any perceived pressure for me to have my coffee and move on.

All of that said, it is a really good location with coffee to match. If you are in that part of the world – maybe having visited the adjacent Centrelink / Medicare office or the childcare centre next door to that, buying a coffee here certainly won’t see you “Crying In The Chapel”!


Address: 10 Litle Ryrie Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site:
Telephone: 03 5222 6905
Open: Five days per week (closed Saturday and Sunday except during July)
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Adore Specialty Coffee
Headline: Great old location, well restored. Really good coffee, too!
Coffee Rating: Four stars
Stick-Around Factor: Four stars

For an explanation of “Stick-Around Factor”, click here or on the heading.

Denny’s Kitchen


I had previously visited Denny’s Kitchen as part of a charity event earlier this year but on that occasion it was all about wine and not coffee – so today was my chance to sample a long black.

On the previous visit, they were a significant number of people in attendance – this morning, there were only a few which, along withe low level of lighting, gave it less atmosphere and, as a result, slightly less welcoming.

The coffee was served in the right cup (hooray) and displayed a reasonable crema – always a good start. And the flavour, whilst not being a standout against other coffee I have tasted in Geelong, was certainly very acceptable. No table service was offered – order at the counter and take a table number – which also meant that you had to get your own water and glasses if you wanted it.

All in all, the coffee was very good but from a coffee experience, it might have just lacked the spark that would demand a return visit ahead of others.


Address: 66 Brougham Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site:
Telephone: 03 5223 2536
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Located in an iconic Geelong building – the Geelong Wool Museum – the coffee is very good but first thing in the morning, it lacked a little atmosphere. A bit too big for the number of customers which presumably is not the case at other times of the day.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

Tomi Lounge Bar


There’s something “flavour-of-the-month-ish” about Tomi – either that or my circle of friends and associates of Facebook are spending a lot of time there.

I have driven past Tomi several times since moving to Geelong and have wondered whether or not I should make the effort to visit. It is REALLY difficult to get a park nearby – it is located on Malop Street, almost on the pedestrian crossing that services Westfield and Market Square. Given that I visited reasonably early on a Sunday, I was able to get an on-street park nearby. If you were trying to get to Tomi during the week, you might find it easier to park in one of the shopping centre car parks and walk.

It is an interesting place to go for breakfast. The ambience is more like a New York bar than anything else. You kind of expect Ed Sullivan to stand up and introduce Dean Martin as the entertainment. I suspect that the design was done with evenings in mind with breakfast an afterthought – maybe I am wrong, but that’s just the feeling I got.

The menu is good but this is a coffee review and I am pleased to say that the coffee is good enough to receive a 4 star rating. As is sometimes the case where food and, in some instances, alcohol are the primary money-spinners, coffee is a bit of an afterthought. Not so at Tomi – the coffee is good enough to stand up by itself.

If you are looking for something that’s “a little bit different” – give Tomi a go. You won’t be disappointed.


Address: 64-66 Malop Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site:
Telephone: 03 5229 6437
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Antico
Headline: A New York style bar in the main street of Geelong? Maybe not, but still well worth a visit for coffee or a meal.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Huckster’s & Co.


Hucksters & Co is located in James Street in Geelong in an area where I can think of at least five really good coffee outlets (a couple on that side of Ryrie Street and a few on the south side of Ryrie). Each of the locations in that area has something to distinguish it and in the case of Hucksters & Co, it is their collection of fresh bakery items.

The cafe consists of two quite distinct sections – one that houses the shop (entry off James Street) and a converted garage at the back which can be accessed from the shop or off a rear lane. Out the back in the garage, you are well away from the action which might make it a good location to conduct a business meeting – as was the case with me when I visited recently.

If I could be a little critical – and maybe I am using information that is out of date – according to a newspaper article last year, Hucksters & Co is sourcing its bakery items from a Northcote bakery. Using one of most “un-favourite” phrases, the journalist reported that the owner had brought “a little bit of Northcote style to Geelong”. I must confess that I didn’t try any of the bakery items on offer but feel sure that there are bakeries in our region that could provide products of equal quality. I am all for supporting local businesses and it’s disappointing that we have to source bakery items from 80 or 90 kms away.

Anyway, bakery origin aside (which didn’t impact on their coffee rating), the cafe is certainly creating coffee that matches some of their competitors in the immediate neighbourhood and beyond.

Maybe even better than the coffee you can buy in Northcote.


Address: 20 James Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site:
Telephone: 03 5222 4837
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Allpress
Headline: Another small cafe in what is fast becoming coffee central in the Geelong CBD. Well worth a visit.
Coffee Rating: Four stars