Bernard Salt, aka Australian columnist, aka the man who started Avogeddon last week, seems to have developed a taste for controversy (or at least, for raising the ire of Australians younger than him). Whatever the case, he has penned another think piece on “hipsters”, brunch and housing.
In the column, he has a theory that by tracking the city’s coolest cafes, you can figure out where residential property values are likely to rise.
Taking results from user-ratings site Zomato (formerly Urbanspoon), Salt compares the current top-rated cafes in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane alongside the top ratings this time last year, taking care to point out this is a theory he has been fostering for some time.
By multiplying Zomato’s rating by the total number of votes, Salt comes up withsomething called the “Cool Cafe Index (CCI)”. Through this, he finds the top 10 coolest cafes in Sydney are spilling from what he calls “traditional hipster” suburbs, to new locales.
In October 2015 in Sydney, the most highly rated cafes were in Surry Hills.
This year, Salt's top 10 includes "new" areas such as Newtown and Parramatta.
“Hipsters are on the move; they are being spun off as if by some centrifugal force beyond the inner suburbs and into the Hills Hoist heartland,” Salt writes.
While he brings up an interesting concept, the problem is it’s not clear who he’s talking about. Who are hipsters? What does this vague catch-all term mean in 2016? Are they milliennials? Are they people who eat at cafes? Are they people who eat avocado on toast at $22 a pop? Where is this $22 avocado toast? Can we try some? Why is Bernard Salt withholding this secret luxury avocado experience from the hipsters?
Assuming high Zomato rankings equal “cool factor” is not without problems. User-generated review sites are an ongoing issue for hospitality owners, as venue pages can often be populated with paid, biased or unfair reviews.
If Salt is right, maybe we should start downvoting our favourite cafes and kill two birds with one stone: drive down housing prices and queues at the same time.