If Little Mule (Little Mule Co. Pty. Ltd.) was purely a performance art piece, I would go. The fact that this collection of Bauhaus shapes is a business and more than just a charming background only adds to the magic of such a place. But it’s not the kind of place you suggest to your girlfriend without her prior knowledge of its existence, unless you like fuss.
“A bike shop that serves coffee! What about a cafe that serves coffee?”
So we make it and it’s not a grease pit, but a collection of guys with a penchant for self-propelled, two-wheeled transport and the fine art of making coffee.
And it arrives, and in a city of proud coffee drinkers, I say this without hesitation, one of the best coffees I have had in a long while. Sometimes, instead of twenty minutes of explanation about the bean and a science experiment later, I just want a coffee. I want to taste it and I want pride taken in its make, but save the song and dance and give me a coffee that is simply good. Imagine what they can do with a bike.
What might seem a bit trainspottery or bird watching nerdy comes alive. The beauty of such a store can’t be underestimated. It is the best use of bare brick walls I have ever seen. The polished frames and components popping off the naked brickwork lifting the space from a shop with bikes to a gallery of cool shapes and colours.
For a city that has gone mad over the sexy lure of the simplicity of the single speed and fixed gear, Little Mule stands above all comers because it feels like a community and not a clique. It’s a welcoming approach; the opening of its doors, the gentle arms that will have even the most confused tourist glad they took a wrong turn at Somerset Place.
It is quite a pleasant way to flick the Saturday morning papers, just ask my girlfriend, the French Navy with candy white wheels was her choice.
19 Somerset Place, Melbourne
(03) 9670 4904
Mon-Fri 7am-4pm (as of Monday 27 September)