Street Lab Specialty Coffee
Coffee and sneakers. It’s an unlikely combination but one that’s so far proven a winner for the trio behind Emporium’s Street Lab Speciality Coffee.
They’re shared obsessions for owners Nate Swindale, John Bartlet and Ethan Dou, who between them also share plenty of history; working together at cafes and coffee roasters around town.
Great coffee is just the beginning. It’s the high-tops and sneakers gracing the walls – some of which are Dou’s (one pair is worth $15,000), all of which are for sale – that Swindale says people drop in every day just to check. There’s also a decent collection of Star Wars memorabilia.
The rotating menu of beans – roasted off-site by Street Lab and sourced from Brazil, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and other coffee hotspots – is matched to a simple selection of pastries from Crust & Co., but will soon be joined by a crostini menu.
Street Lab neatly plugs a hole in the not-quite-city, not-quite-suburban Emporium precinct at the northern end of Fortitude Valley. Tucked into one of the few tenancies with both street and car park frontage, its concrete floors and mixture of low and high rough hewn pallet-style tables exude an easy industrial cool. Light and airy, it’s the kind of space that invites both quiet solo coffee breakfasts and cheery morning-after debriefs.