Despite the great numbers of bleary-eyed students desperate for a caffeine fix, university campuses have somehow never been associated with high-quality coffee.

As the alumni will attest, the University of Melbourne was no exception. That was until 20-year-old Thomas Kelly, a first-year student at the university last year, returned to set up shop with Standing Room, a tiny new espresso bar offering a little boost to the sleep-deprived on campus.

As the name suggests, this isn’t about sitting down for a few hours over brunch. There’s a Synesso machine pumping out 5 Senses’ Dark Horse blend, a shelf of very pretty cakes courtesy of Hapsburg Empire in Albert Park and standing room only.

The clean, crisp layout – designed by Kelly with one of his architecture tutors from last year – is not only a model of efficiency, but the 18-square-metre space is designed in a way that allows crowds to move through with ease.

Having spent the better part of five months jumping through hoops and “being handballed around” by various functionaries at the university, Kelly leapt at his chance when the tiny space came up, with the fit-out itself only taking about three weeks, just in time for a second semester opening.

Yet no corners have been cut. All the packaging is biodegradable and the coffee grounds are being cycled back through the university’s compost system to be redistributed around the gardens.

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Consideration has even been given to those who don’t have a taste for coffee, with a full range of T2 teas and Hepburn soft drinks available. Additionally, the gorgeous copper cake shelf (designed by the folks down at Tait) constantly has a gluten-free option on offer, sure to keep even the fussiest of students content.

Standing Room
G02a Union House, University of Melbourne, Parkville

Mon to Fri 8am–5pm