In March last year, The State Library of Victoria announced plans for a massive $88.1 million redevelopment that would overhaul and reopen areas closed to the public for more than 15 years.
Now it’s been announced that the first stage of construction, overseen by Australian firm Architectus and architects Schmidt, Hammer, Lassen (SHL) from Denmark, is almost complete and will include a vegan-friendly takeaway espresso bar called Guild Cafe.
The cafe will be headed up by Cameron Earl, the founder of Almond Milk Co. – an all-Australian, organic almond milk designed to work with espresso coffee. The milk, which is creamy, nutty, and even looks like dairy milk, is used at Proud Mary, Everyday Coffee and Industry Beans, among others.
It’s Earl’s first standalone cafe, but he’s no stranger to the business. In 2017, Almond Milk Co. partnered with Country Road to open two in-store almond milk bars in Brighton and Albert Park.
Almond Milk Co. milk will of course be front and centre at Guild, but there’ll be dairy options too. Coffee is by St Ali.
“You'll able to buy a raw almond milk, Mörk dark chocolate, Prana chai,” says Earl. “Or you can just take it home … It's a pretty big deal for us to be able to sell to the CBD for the first time, direct to public.”
For serious coffee addicts, an all-day pass will get you unlimited filter – but it’ll set you back a hefty $20. There will be a VIP area for pass holders, who can leave and return as many times as they like in a day.
“Waiting in line to get a coffee on a busy morning when you're at the library is not anyone’s idea of a good time,” says Earl. “I loved the concept [in the US] that you could sit down and get bottomless filter, but I don't know many people that have more than two filters in a sitting.”
The menu is designed for on-the-go city workers; there is Bircher, baguettes, raw cakes and protein balls. Everything will be vegan with the option to add meat, instead of the other way around.
“[We’re] conscious the world is moving in a direction,” says Earl. “You have to be vegetarian- and vegan-conscious … and that totally falls in line with our existing product.”
The interior design is still under wraps and will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Guild Cafe will open on Friday September 21.