“I wanted something that was community-driven, but I didn’t really want to use the word ‘community’,” McManus says of the name. “The thing that stuck out the most was that in the word ‘neighbourhood’ you can see ‘our hood’.”
Open for two weeks, Neighbourhood already has a steady stream of regulars sitting on the two benches on the footpath or standing alongside the counter.
“We honestly thought no one would want to hang out; we thought people would want to get their takeaway and go,” says McManus. “But a lot of people wanted to get their coffee and stay.”
McManus and co-barista Marc Wiebe man the machine with precision and charisma inside the compact street-front space. It’s the first of three spaces, all within the bottom floor of a single terrace house, which McManus and business partner Jon Kennedy plan to open in the coming months. Designer Porter and Maple has created a tiny, clean-lined space that features Tasmanian oak and Australian walnut, with the occasional vase of Australian natives and bags of beans in the corner. It’s best described as an ode to a “1970s James Bond sauna … warm and inviting”, McManus says.
Milk is from John Fairley, “just 90 kilometres away”. Beans are roasted by McManus and the team at Artificer. Dairy-free oat milk is made daily in store. Penny Fours croissants and Woah Nelly! Doughnuts might be available during the week, if you’re lucky.
Neighbourhood by Sean McManus
16 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills
Mon to Fri 6.30am–3pm