For more than 70 years, 87 Harbord Road in Freshwater was home to treasured general store Polar Bar. When it closed in 2020, locals’ sadness was quickly replaced by excitement when Three Seagulls opened not long after. This new cafe offers everything Polar Bar once did – bread, milkshakes, pantry staples, community vibes, friendly staff – and then some.

When mates Sam Marsh, Adam Bailey and Bernard Barry got their hands on the joint they knocked out one of the walls to create a takeaway coffee window and gave the space a modern spruce. But mostly it’s been left the same, adding to the lovely sense it’s been there for yonks.

“The most important thing to us was to nail that local community feel,” Marsh (an ex-Merivale venue licensee) tells Broadsheet. One look at Three Seagulls, which is constantly heaving with patrons, and there’s no question they’ve done exactly that.

Three Seagulls is part cafe, part corner store, meaning you can head in for brekkie or lunch, then pick up jars of salsa, bread, coffee beans and even records on your way out. The all-day menu features typical cafe meals with just the right amount of flair – ricotta, banana, cinnamon and maple tahini on chunky-cut Berkelo fruit bread; boiled eggs on toast with house-made roast artichoke spread and smoked capsicum relish; and fat toasties such as the Morning Surf (double bacon, double egg, cheese and Drunken Sailor smoky relish). From 11am it’s sanga time. Choices inclue the signature Smoked Bird with smoked chicken, Tothy Brothers barbeque sauce, cheddar and slaw, and the Soprano, made with fresh tomato, mozzarella pesto and balsamic.

There’s also a counter stocked with Tuga pastries, and salted-caramel and Snickers slices; a fridge set into the counter filled with soft drinks, cold brew, Momma Kombucha and coconut water; and a coffee machine pumping out Single O blends. (Three Seagulls donates five cents of every coffee sold to the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club.)

The shelves that run along the back wall, on either side of the doorway with a sign pointing to the “outdoor dunny”, are stocked with all sorts of goodies you’ll be tempted to walk away with: Hunter candles; Sun Bum sunscreen for if you’re headed to the beach; Project Pargo bottles and reusable coffee cups; and an assortment of pantry staples including salsas, relishes, handmade jams and Berkelo loaves.

“We’re very content and happy with what we’ve created, in all honesty,” says Marsh. So happy, in fact, that the trio has a second Three Seagulls in the works. Watch this space.

Three Seagulls
87 Harbord Road, Freshwater

Daily 6.30am–2.30pm